Sunday, January 29, 2023 | 01:21 pm

Class Action Suit Filed Against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt for DMCA Violations, Publicity Violations, Unlawful Competition, and Breach of TOS

Class Action Suit Filed Against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt for DMCA Violations, Publicity Violations, Unlawful Competition, and Breach of TOS

Stability AI Ltd.; Stability AI, Inc.; Midjourney Inc.; and DeviantArt, Inc. have created products that infringe the rights of artists and other creative individuals under the guise of alleged “artificial intelligence.” The Joseph Saveri Law Firm, LLP-a leading class action firm with offices in California and New York-along with Matthew Butterick, and Lockridge, Grindal, Nauen P.L.L.P. have filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a class of plaintiffs seeking compensation for damages caused by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Mid journey, and an injunction to prevent future harms. The lawsuit alleges direct copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement related to forgeries, violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), violation of class members’ rights of publicity, breach of contract related to the DeviantArt Terms of Service, and various violations of California’s unfair competition laws.

As alleged in the Complaint, Stable Diffusion is an artificial intelligence product used by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Mid journey in their AI image products. It was trained on billions of copyrighted images contained in the LAION-5B dataset, which were downloaded and used without compensation or consent from the artists. If Stable Diffusion and similar products are allowed to continue to operate as they do now, the foreseeable result is they will replace the very artists whose stolen works power these AI products with whom they are competing. AI image products are not just an infringement of artists’ rights; whether they aim to or not, these products will eliminate “artist” as a viable career path. In addition to obtaining redress for the wrongful conduct, this lawsuit seeks to prevent that outcome and ensure these products follow the same rules as any other new technology that involves the use of massive amounts of intellectual property. If streaming music can be accomplished within the law, so can AI products.

“As burgeoning technology continues to change every aspect of the modern world, it’s critical that we recognize and protect the rights of artists against unlawful theft and fraud,” said Joseph Saveri, founder of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, LLP. He continued, “This case represents a larger fight for preserving ownership rights for all artists and other creators.”

“AI needs to be fair and ethical for everyone,” said lawyer programmer Matthew Butterick. “But Stability AI, Mid journey, and DeviantArt are appropriating the work of thousands of artists with no consent, no credit, and no compensation. As a lawyer who is also a longtime member of the visual arts community, it’s a pleasure to stand up on behalf of fellow artists and continue this essential conversation about how we the people want AI to coexist with human culture and creativity.”

Since its founding in 2000, DeviantArt had grown to be a haven for artists of all stripes. A core aspect of participating in the DeviantArt community for artists is the practice of sharing digital images of their artwork. Today, DeviantArt bills itself as “the world’s largest art community,” hosting millions of images. At the same time, it offers DreamUp, a product that unlawfully infringes on the rights of its own art community. To add insult to injury, a large portion of the training data for Stable Diffusion-which powers DreamUp-was made up of images scraped from DeviantArt without permission from the artists that posted them.