AI Image Generator Founder Confesses To Using 100 Million Anime And Manga Images Without Consent And Agrees To Delete Them

Holz further adds that artists cannot opt out of being named in prompts because that’s a problem still being looked at.

Anime Explained

David Holz, founder of Midjourney AI Generator App, has come clean about his company’s use of hundreds of millions of images to train its AI image generator without the necessary consents, which has angered photographers and artists.

An interview Holz gave to Forbes in September has gone viral on Twitter, and in it, he openly admits to utilizing images without permission.

Q: “Did you seek consent from living artists or is your work still under copyright?”

Holz: “No. There isn’t really a way to get a hundred million images and know where they’re coming from. It would be cool if images had metadata embedded in them about the copyright owner or something. But that’s not a thing; there’s not a registry. There’s no way to find a picture on the internet, and then automatically trace it to an owner and then have any way of doing anything to authenticate it.

It is perplexing that David Holz so openly confesses to stealing and copyright violations in this piece! He says, “yeah, we stole from you to build a platform that we make a profit from, what are you going to do about it”! Lawsuits would be flying everywhere!

In the same interview, Holz mentions that “a big scrape of the internet” was used to construct Midjourney’s dataset. Their training is based on publicly available, open data sets. And he admits that it’s something that every single person does, which does mean what he’s doing is right.

Holz further adds that artists cannot opt out of being named in prompts because that’s a problem still being looked at.

Additionally, Midjourney’s AI-scraped images include pages from Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece and Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto manga.

Regardless, users of Midjourney can still have their works turned into AI art. Magmix and Anime Chain, makers of ethical AI, recently met with NAFCA, the anime association, to discuss potential solutions to the problem of AI’s increasing influence in the creative process.

Anime Chain stated that creators of anime should take the lead in artificial intelligence (AI) before Big Tech dominates the industry. Another issue that NAFCA brought out in their statement was copyright, namely the possibility of “AI monsters with the head of Doraemon, the body of a Gundam and the voice of Son Goku.”

A lot of people’s work is being scraped for AI purposes, not only artists. The makers of RyokoAI recently pulled 717,700 titles from the prominent Japanese self-publishing site Shosetsuka ni Narou, which is home to the source material for many successful anime.

Source: Forbes, petapixel via CBR