I Finally Sold My First AI-Generated Image! Here’s the story…

Today I was checking my name on Google for sales as I do everyday and I came across one of my images sold via Alamy. Upon clicking on the article at a Swedish Newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, to my surprise, it was an AI-generated image that I uploaded some 8 months ago.

As for the original “image” generated by DALLE-2.

Hasn’t Alamy banned AI-generated content?

Yes, Alamy banned contributors uploading AI-generated content in late-March 2023 with this announcement.

There’s no denying it’s a thrill to see a piece of text transformed into an image, apparently by magic. It’s the kind of technology many of us dreamed of as kids. While the creative freedoms are exciting, legal frameworks and business ethics have yet to catch up with the fast pace of AI development. At Alamy, we must approach AI in the right way to protect the interests of our content creators.

We know that Alamy images have been scraped to train headline-grabbing and increasingly popular image generation tools, without our permission and without licence. We represent the work of 150,000 contributors from all around the world on our platform, and as a business we were founded to democratise photography. That means we must find a way to embrace new possibilities for creators, while ensuring copyright holders are credited and recompensed for their input.

What is Alamy doing?

  1. Alamy is considering its legal position around material that has been scraped. We are writing to some of the leading AI image generation companies to ask them to acknowledge the content they have used without licence and to correct this. We’re supportive of the legal action being taken by Getty Images. We’ve also been involved in efforts as part of Cepic, DMLA, BAPLA and alongside partner organisations such as DACS, to persuade governments and regulators to look again at this area. Consultations in the UK are ongoing.
  2. It’s important to recognise that AI is as much about potential commercial promise for contributors as it is about threat. We’re happy to licence images for a fee to developers who want to train AI models ethically and democratically for purposes other than image generation – such as healthcare, education and voice assistance. We will be splitting this revenue with contributors whose images are included.
  3. We’re becoming partners ourselves in AI image generation and editing models being developed ethically. These are in early stages of development, however we believe they could in time become a new and fair revenue stream for Alamy contributors.
  4. While the sources for AI image generation by many platforms are at worst scraped without permission and at best unclear, we cannot accept AI generated material on Alamy. It already breaches our standard terms and conditions because it is not necessarily free from rights. We are in the process of removing all of this content that we can identify.

What’s next?

We’ll be making announcements in the next few days around changes to our contributor terms to make it clear that we don’t accept AI generated content, and to outline the model for sharing back licence fees we do get from ethical AI companies.

Our partnerships around ethical AI image generation will develop over the next few months and we will be keeping you informed about the commercial opportunities for contributors from that, and the tools being developed for customers.

Alamy will be making representations to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology in the UK as part of consultations on proposed AI regulation policy and we’ll continue to discuss these issues with our partners, friends, contributors and competitors.

Has my AI-generated images been removed?

I’ve just checked my portfolio for this image and other similar AI-generated and they’ve all been removed, but hope the sale stands (hasn’t shown up on my earnings report). I’ll update the post/blog once the sales shows up.

Which Agencies are accepting AI-generated content and is it worth it?

Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, Taras Kushnir over at the Xpiks blog recently published an excellent and comprehensive article on AI and stock photography, really worth checking it out.

Updated table on which agencies accept AI content

It’s a fast-moving development, so in a few weeks since publishing the post there’s been a few updates on which agencies accepted. Here’s the latest table (May 2023):

Quick poll

Until next time!


About Alex

I’m an eccentric guy, currently based in Lisbon, Portugal, on a quest to visit all corners of the world and capture stock images & footage. I’ve devoted eight years to making it as a travel photographer / videographer and freelance writer. I hope to inspire others by showing an unique insight into a fascinating business model.

Most recently I’ve gone all in on submitting book cover images to Arcangel Images. Oh and also recently purchased a DJI Mavic 2s drone and taking full advantage and perhaps a Mavic 3 soon.

I’m proud to have written a book about my adventures which includes tips on making it as a stock travel photographer – Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock Photography

12 comments

  1. Freepik also tales AI imagens. I sold like 400 times of them just in the First two weeks of may 😅 saudações do Brazil ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

        • “OpenAI has been very open and upfront about the fact that DALL-E may be used for commercial projects, regardless of whether you created your images with free or paid credits. The DALL-E commercial use terms allow you to commercialize images created with DALL-E, including selling them or printing them on merchandise.”

          Need to check regarding AS.

          Like

          • I think I may be wrong about AS, but:

            – Adobe Stock cannot provide guidance on whether the license terms of an AI technology or application allows you to submit the generated content to Adobe Stock. You, or your legal counsel, must review the license terms to determine if the generated content may be submitted to Adobe Stock.

            – By submitting AI-generated content, you warrant to us that you have all the rights for Adobe Stock to use the content as described in the Adobe Stock Contributor terms (e.g., commercial use in all media) and that the content does not infringe any third-party rights.

            Like

  2. Very good info! I don’t use the AI for now, at least for stock (I generate some images as a guide to make drawings or watercolors paints) Something inside me, ethics perhaps, tells me that what the AI generates for me is made with parts from other creators. I would not like to see a recognizable part of one of my photographs in the creations of others. And that happens. It’s hard to find them, but they are out there. I think it’s a matter of time before they start to appear, we’ll see then what happens with copyright…
    Hands. I find it curious that some agencies do not accept photographs with “technical errors” (focus, halos…) but do accept AI images with 8 fingers, 7 incisor teeth in the mouth, or eyes of two different people. Mediocrity, modernity, temporality for AI but perfection in the rest 🤔😉
    It is also curious that Shutter does not accept AI images, but has its own AI
    Thank you Alex!

    Like

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