AI Images May Pose Big Problems For Photographers

The Iceberg Graveyard, Antarctica


A few weeks back I expressed big fears over some of the potential legal ramifications of AI imagery. While many folks agreed several said not to worry that copyright would not be an issue. My response was that until there is a legal case on the issue we won’t know and that no one can say for sure not to worry.

Well the time to worry is now! The UK may be the leader in the detriment to the entire photographic industry. Under current law, the United Kingdom allows for only non-commercial machine analysis of online content. It does not allow for resale of that material and all sources need to be revealed.

There is a proposed change to the law that would essentially allow all machine learning programs to completely forgo any licensing requirements even for copyrighted images. So if this happens, AI would allow all images on websites and social media to be injested without permission. It would further allow for new images to be created based on this information and to potentially allow for copyright of those new images without credit or payment to the original photographer.
The Association of Photographers known as the AOP in the UK has taken a stance on this and all photographers worldwide should be concerned.
The bottom line is that at the technology is pretty awesome and fascinating but the consequences could be the end of photography licensing as we know it. The idea of stock photography was destroyed because photo organizations particularly in the US didn’t see the problems and I certainly hope that they all take a strong stance this time around

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