AI-generated artwork isn’t stolen when data is sourced ethically and contributors are compensated . . . which is exactly what Shutterstock’s generative AI does.
As you probably know, thoughts around AI-generated content can vary widely. Many say it’s interesting and inspirational. (We certainly think so!) Others, however, aren’t so sure. Negative takes surrounding the topic say it’s dishonest, because some generative AI solutions are built from data sets that are built without respecting the intellectual property rights of artists.
Of course, generative AI doesn’t have to steal at all.
Shutterstock was the first to approach generative AI in a way that compensates artists, photographers, and other contributors. From the ground up, our generative efforts have been built ethically, so users can create images with the utmost confidence.
Here, we dive deep into Shutterstock’s Contributor Fund, which compensates artists and creatives whose work models train on. We also take a look at how the creation of an ethically sound AI means that brands can feel safe using AI-generated images from Shutterstock.
This is where Shutterstock’s data offering stands out. Because of Shutterstock’s efforts to build an ethically sound AI business that includes contributor payouts, our generative offering is anything but stolen. Our business allows contributors to access a new revenue stream.
Here, we interview John de Guzmán, Director of Product at Shutterstock, to learn more about how Shutterstock is approaching generative AI in all the right ways. Let’s dive into his thoughts, and why Shutterstock is a safe bet in the generative art world.
Shutterstock Artists Are Compensated
At Shutterstock, our contributors are our partners. Their photos, designs, and artwork power creative projects around the world and across every industry. Because of this, we want to ensure that photographers, designers, and artists always have a place to make money for their artistic endeavors.
Of course, selling their work as stock assets in our library is one way to do this. With the launch of our data business, they now have new revenue opportunities to opt-in to.
We think contributors should be compensated, which is why we’re considering contributors as partners with us in our data business.
John de Guzmán, Director of Product at Shutterstock
With this principle at the forefront of Shutterstock’s generative AI, artists can stay opted in or they can opt out when allowing AI models to train on their work.
Compensation for contributors whose work models are trained on is critical. Shutterstock was the first to make this idea a reality with our Contributor Fund.
Every AI image generator’s models need to train on a massive data set. Models are trained to know what a wide range of specific visual content–such as trees, clouds, and Boston Terriers–look like.
Generative AI does not make carbon copies of these visuals from any specific artist but, rather, its models observe data and learn from it. Models are trained to know the visual components of each of these items’ compositions.
Shutterstock’s data set is what these AI models are trained on. It is full of millions of diverse and responsibly sourced images, which is built from Shutterstock’s massive image library.
That means it is secure and ethically-sourced in order to make AI commercially possible. This is all part of our commitment to building responsible AI.
How Does It Work?
So, how can artists make money from Shutterstock’s Contributor Fund? If contributors allow Shutterstock’s models to be trained on their content, compensation will be part of their regular earnings.
There are two AI-based sources of royalties that fund contributors:
- Whenever work is used to train models, contributors are compensated.
- When someone generates content on Shutterstock’s tool, we set aside profits to share back with the contributors whose work helped to train the model.
“We are expecting to disburse royalties to contributors on a set schedule,” said de Guzmán. “The first royalties were distributed in December. We expect this to continue on a regular cadence.”
Ethics Are Built in, from the Beginning
Because artwork generated by Shutterstock.AI is ethically created, brands can feel secure when using it within their own projects and campaigns. There’s no fear of legal repercussions.
All of this means that, ultimately, brands who use generative AI work more efficiently. Processes are sped up and business is made easier.
“We think we have built an ethical approach to our AI offering, which includes contributors in the calculus and rewards them for their participation,” said de Guzmán, when reflecting on how Shutterstock is the first to build a generative AI that’s safe to use at a commercial level.
When your team builds AI with ethics baked in from the beginning, AI-generated artwork ends up being usable without apprehension. Every measure taken by the Shutterstock team has led to an ethically-sound generative AI product that’s safe, easy to use, and compensates contributors.
While some AI-generated artwork is stolen, customers can feel 100% secure knowing that Shutterstock’s is not.
License this cover image via Ikon Images.