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AI Versus Artists: Adobe To Sell AI-Generated Stock Images

“Hey, AI. Draw me a dumpster fire.” Is this the beginning of the end for art?

Photoshop developer Adobe is now allowing users to sell AI-generated stock images on Adobe Stock. Adobe Stock is home to a plethora of photos and digital illustrations which users can purchase and use in their art projects. It is incredibly convenient and allows artists to earn passive income for images they post on the site. 

And now AI is going to grab a part of the action.

Whichever way you look at it (speed, convenience, bypassing the sketchy vagaries of the a human artist) AI-generated art is a threat to artists who have potentially spent years perfecting their craft. And the AI art onslaught is happening right now.

AI art wins art competition

In September, the president of Incarnate Games, Jason Allen, won first place in the Colorado State fair’s fine art competition for Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, an AI-generated art piece. While Allen fed a prompt into an AI and tweaked the result in Photoshop, the win led to backlash from the art community. Not only do many feel that it’s immoral to earn revenue from art that you didn’t create, but many artists also fear for the future of their careers. 

Meanwhile AI software, such as Midjourney, generate an image by viewing images across the web that fit the user’s prompt and imitating them. This leads to morally and legally grey areas such as who really owns an AI-generated artwork? Is it the individual who ‘gave the brief’ to the AI or the owner (or multiple thousands of owners) whose artwork was used to train it?

And now users of Adobe Stock can input AI-generated art into the system with the only caveat being that they must tag the piece as AI-generated. Otherwise, the submission process is the same.

Adobe seems willing to take that legal gamble and is even offering to compensate users who purchase an AI-generated image from Adobe Stock should it later be involved in any legal issues. Meanwhile rival Getty Images are giving AI-generated artworks the swerve (at least for now) though it’s unclear as to whether that’s because they are taking a more staunch, pro-artist stance or are simply afraid of what might happen legally.

Meanwhile Sarah Casillas, senior director at Adobe, told Axios that she has been “pleasantly surprised” by the AI-generated art submissions the Adobe Stock has received thus far.

It’s an interesting time for art, artists and ownership and Adobe Stock isn’t the only stock image distributor willing to take a risk with big names such as Shutterstock (and Getty Images) partnering with generative AI platforms to allow users to generate images by simply entering a prompt.

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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