There is nothing new in the world of AI ethics. It’s a topic of a lot of contention and debate. There are different stances on how it should be used, if at all. The discussion varies from “it should never be used ever” to “it’s fine what are you talking about?”. Nevertheless, people are always curious about new technology and interested in giving things a try.
One of the platforms that had users saying Wow about what AI was capable of is a platform called MidJourney. Midjourney are already in a heap of legal trouble last year when several artists came together to file a class action lawsuit against the company.
1/ As I learned more about how the deeply exploitative AI media models practices I realized there was no legal precedent to set this right. Let’s change that.
Read more about our class action lawsuit, including how to contact the firm here: https://t.co/yvX4YZMfrG
— Karla Ortiz (@kortizart) January 15, 2023
Updates from this lawsuit have come in, with Exhibit J being leaked to the internet. It shows a list of dehumanising artists down to specific styles, as well as having a Google document of artists with which to “train the AI”. What is most important is that these artists were not consulted nor consented to the use of their images being trained for this purpose. The artists were not compensated nor did they know that this was happening. Midjourneys team on Discord shows members of the team encouraging other people to list artists that they want to “launder”.
Here’s Midjourney CEO David Holz talking about specifically scraping Magic The Gathering artists and IP.
“You might find it amusing to hear that early on we would just render out huge swaths of MTG cards as test sequences”.
— Reid Southen (@Rahll) January 1, 2024
The rabbit hole goes deeper and more unsettling. It seems like someone critical of Midjourney’s ethical processes, has had their account deleted along with anything they had generated. Which is very much the smoking gun that something shady is underway.
Hey guys, @midjourney banned me a SECOND time for exposing their copyright infringement. If Adobe or any other company did this to people critical of them there’d be outrage.
Please share, this is unacceptable and extremely incriminating. pic.twitter.com/N3hvJq6NHd
— Reid Southen (@Rahll) December 25, 2023
Silencing your critics is always bad, and there is no way to look at this and feel like Midjourney is in the right. You need to be willing to receive feedback when people have concerns. Needless to say, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on the case as it develops. When more news drops on the topic you can be sure to hear it from us first!