The Ethics of AI-Generated Images: A Call for Permission and Attribution

In recent years, AI-generated images have become increasingly popular in the world of fashion and art. However, the creator of the AI system behind the viral Balenciaga Pope images is now calling for people to stop stealing his work without permission or attribution.

The AI system, created by artist and programmer Robbie Barrat, was trained on thousands of classical paintings and religious iconography to generate new images. The resulting images, which depict religious figures in modern clothing, went viral on social media and were even featured in a Balenciaga fashion show.

But despite the popularity of the images, Barrat has expressed frustration with the way they have been used without his permission or attribution. In a recent tweet, he wrote: “I’m tired of seeing people use my AI-generated images without credit or permission. It’s not fair to me or to the people who worked hard to create these images.”

Barrat’s call for permission and attribution raises important questions about the ethics of using AI-generated images. While AI-generated images may not be protected by copyright law, they still represent the creative work of their creators and should be treated with respect.

So what can we do to ensure that AI-generated images are used ethically and responsibly? Here are some guidelines to consider:

1. Seek permission from the creator

Just because an image was generated by an AI system doesn’t mean it’s free for anyone to use. As with any creative work, it’s important to seek permission from the creator before using an AI-generated image. This can be done by contacting the creator directly or by checking for any licensing information that may be available.

2. Provide attribution

Even if you have permission to use an AI-generated image, it’s still important to provide attribution to the creator. This can be done by including the creator’s name and a link to their website or social media profile. Attribution not only gives credit where credit is due, but it also helps others discover the creator’s work and potentially support them in the future.

3. Consider fair use

In some cases, it may be possible to use an AI-generated image without permission or attribution under the doctrine of fair use. Fair use allows for the limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. However, it’s important to note that fair use is a complex and often subjective area of law, and it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek permission or provide attribution whenever possible.

4. Be aware of licensing agreements

If you’re using an AI-generated image that was created by a company or organization, be sure to check for any licensing agreements that may be in place. Some AI systems may be licensed under specific terms and conditions that dictate how their images can be used.

In conclusion, the use of AI-generated images raises important questions about the ethics of creativity and ownership in the digital age. By seeking permission, providing attribution, and being aware of licensing agreements and fair use, we can ensure that these images are used ethically and responsibly.