Artistic licence: can copyright rein in generative AI?


Muireann Bolger

Artistic licence: can copyright rein in generative AI?

Diego Thomazini /

In part II of a series on art and AI, Muireann Bolger hears how lawsuits against machine learning ‘artists’ may end with Spotify-style databases of licensed works.

When artist and illustrator Kelly McKernan discovered that her artwork had been used to train the artificial intelligence (AI) art tool, Stable Diffusion, she initially found it “surreal and exciting”.

But as she later revealed in a tweet, this elation swiftly turned to “nauseating” anger—prompting a lawsuit that could have crucial implications for both AI developers and copyright owners.

After realising that her “art had been trained on without her consent or compensation”, McKernan, and fellow artists Sarah Andersen and Karla Ortiz, brought a class action complaint against the tool’s creator, Stability AI, earlier this month.

Artistic licence, AI, copyright owners, lawsuits, Spotify, Stability AI, infringement, MidJourney