Three artists — Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz — have filed a class action lawsuit against Stability AI, Deviantart, and Midjourney for their use of the image-generating models Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, described by the complaint as “21st-century collage tool[s] that remixes the copyrighted works of millions of artists whose work was used as training data.”
The claims: According to a post by the trio’s attorney Matthew Butterick, Stable Diffusion uses unauthorized copies of millions, if not billions, of copyrighted images to train a generative AI system to “remix these works to derive (or ‘generate’) more works of the same kind” without the knowledge or consent of the original artists. The resulting images then compete with the originals on the open marketplace, flooding it with an endless number of copies or near copies that permanently damage artists’ ability to participate in the now-oversaturated marketplace. The complaint can be downloaded here as a PDF.
Who are the plaintiffs? Sarah Andersen is an Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist and illustrator based in Portland, Oregon who produces the comic strip Sarah’s Scribbles. Kelly McKernan, based in Nashville, is an exhibiting painter who has produced commissioned work for books, comics, and games. And Puerto Rican artist Karla Ortiz is a concept artist who has worked in the illustration, video game, and film industries, and whose clients include HBO, ILM, Ubisoft, and Marvel Studios.