Midjourney Copyright Law: What AI Artists Need to Know

AI Samson
8 Feb 202417:07

TLDRThe video discusses the legal and ethical implications of AI art generators like Mid Journey, which have been used to create works that win competitions and raise questions about the value of human creativity. It highlights a lawsuit against AI art companies for copyright infringement and the potential impact of generative AI on various jobs. The speaker suggests embracing AI technology and adapting to its evolution, rather than resisting it.


  • 🎨 Thousands of artists are uniting to sue AI art generators like Mid Journey due to concerns about copyright and the unauthorized use of their work in training datasets.
  • πŸ—£οΈ A secret list of artists used to train Mid Journey has been leaked, revealing the names of over 4,000 artists and sparking controversy and legal action.
  • πŸ’‘ The CEO of Mid Journey, David Holtz, acknowledged that the AI uses artist names and genres, not just styles, indicating a more complex approach to training the AI.
  • 🀝 Artist John Lamb from Riot Games exposed the leaked list and highlighted discussions about 'laundering' artist styles to avoid copyright issues.
  • 🚨 AI art algorithms can create derivative works that are difficult to trace back to the original artist, complicating copyright law and attribution.
  • πŸ† AI-generated art has won various competitions, including an art fair and a photography competition, raising questions about the value and authenticity of AI-created works.
  • πŸ“š A Japanese literature prize was awarded to an author who admitted that over 5% of their book was written by an AI, sparking debates about authorship and originality.
  • 🌐 Legal proceedings are underway against AI art companies, with artists arguing that these technologies devalue human creativity and exploit artists' work without proper recognition or compensation.
  • 🌟 Some artists are embracing AI technology and using it to create new forms of art, suggesting that adaptation and innovation can be a positive response to technological change.
  • πŸ”„ The debate around AI and creativity touches on broader philosophical questions about originality, imitation, and the nature of artistic expression.

Q & A

  • What is the main issue that artists are rallying against in relation to AI art generators like Mid Journey?

    -Artists are rallying against the unauthorized use of their work to train AI art generators such as Mid Journey, and the subsequent copyright and attribution issues that arise from this practice.

  • What was leaked online that sparked controversy among artists?

    -A secret list containing the names of over 4,000 artists used to train Mid Journey was leaked online, leading to disputes over the ethical and legal implications of using their work without consent.

  • How did the Mid Journey team allegedly handle the artists' data?

    -The Mid Journey team allegedly laundered the artists' data by creating a database that dehumanized the artists into styles, making it difficult to trace the original works and their creators.

  • What is the main concern regarding the potential implications of copyright law on AI art training?

    -The main concern is that AI art algorithms can create derivative works that are difficult to trace back to their original sources, potentially violating copyright laws and obscuring the attribution of the artists whose work was used to train the AI.

  • What example is given in the script to illustrate the evolution of AI art quality?

    -An example is given of an art piece created using Mid Journey that won the Colorado state competition, which, when compared to more recent AI art, appears dated and of lower quality, showing the rapid advancement of AI art technology.

  • What is the lawsuit against Mid Journey, Stability AI, Runway, and Deviant Art claiming?

    -The lawsuit claims that AI art generators are primarily used as copyright laundering devices, allowing customers to enjoy the benefits of art without having to value or compensate the original artists whose work was foundational to creating these programs.

  • How does the script address the historical perspective on imitation in art?

    -The script references quotes from Salvador Dali and Mark Twain to highlight that imitation has always been a fundamental part of the creative process, and that new ideas are often combinations of old ones.

  • What is the importance of adaptability and synthesizing skills in the context of AI and art?

    -Adaptability and the ability to synthesize learnings from different disciplines are crucial in the context of AI and art, as they allow artists to evolve their work, create more complex pieces, and stand out in a rapidly changing technological landscape.

  • What is the speaker's stance on the development of AI and its impact on artists and jobs?

    -The speaker acknowledges that AI development will have far-reaching implications and may impact many jobs, but maintains a positive outlook, suggesting that embracing and adapting to new technology is a fundamental part of human evolution and progress.

  • What is OpenAI's stance on the potential copyright exemption for AI development?

    -OpenAI is calling for copyright exemption to support the development of AI technologies like ChatGPT, arguing that restrictions on using copyrighted works for training would hinder the advancement of artificial intelligence.

  • How does the script suggest we should approach the future of AI and learning?

    -The script suggests that we should invest in our own learning and adaptability, embracing AI and other technological advancements as opportunities for personal growth and development.



πŸ–ΌοΈ AI Art Lawsuit and Artistic Integrity

This paragraph discusses the legal actions taken by artists against AI art generators like Mid Journey, alleging that their works were used to train the AI without consent. The leaked secret list of artists used for training Mid Journey has sparked controversy and debate. The video highlights the views of artist John Lamb from Riot Games, who exposed the list and the implications of AI art on creative authenticity. The central issue is whether AI-generated art constitutes copying or derivative work, and how this challenges traditional notions of artistry and copyright. The paragraph also touches on the potential legal battles and their impact on the future of AI in the art world.


πŸ“Έ AI and the Blurred Lines of Creativity

The second paragraph delves into the complexities of AI's role in the creative process, particularly in the realms of photography and literature. It discusses the challenges in attributing authorship and the provenance of AI-generated works. The paragraph cites examples such as an AI-generated photograph that won a competition and a Japanese literature prize awarded to a book partly written by an AI. The discussion extends to the broader implications of AI on the value and recognition of human artists, and the potential for legal proceedings against AI companies like Mid Journey, Stability AI, Runway, and Deviant Art. The core issue is the perception of AI as a tool for copyright laundering, undermining the value of artists' contributions to the technology.


🎨 Adapting to Technological Evolution in Art

This paragraph focuses on the personal experiences and professional evolution of an artist and designer in the face of technological advancements. It highlights the shift from traditional print design to digital design and the growing demand for UI/UX designers. The speaker reflects on the necessity of adaptability and the ability to synthesize knowledge from different disciplines as crucial skills in the evolving design industry. The paragraph also touches on the impact of AI on the job market and the potential for generative AI to transform all roles. The speaker advocates embracing AI and its possibilities, rather than resisting it, and suggests that the industry will continue to evolve regardless of legal challenges.


πŸ€– Navigating the Future of AI and Copyright

The final paragraph discusses the broader societal implications of AI development, particularly in relation to copyright laws. It presents the argument that the advancement of technology may necessitate a reevaluation of existing copyright protections. The paragraph mentions the potential economic and technological growth offered by generative AI and suggests that governments may prioritize these benefits over the rights of existing copyright holders. It also addresses the stance of OpenAI, which is calling for copyright exemptions to continue the development of AI like ChatGPT. The speaker emphasizes the importance of personal investment in learning and adapting to new technologies, and promotes Skillshare as a resource for self-improvement and staying relevant in a rapidly changing world.



πŸ’‘AI art generators

AI art generators refer to software or algorithms that utilize artificial intelligence to create pieces of art. In the context of the video, these generators, such as Mid Journey, Stability AI, and Runway, are being sued by artists for copyright infringement. The main issue is that these AI systems are trained on databases of artists' works without their consent, which raises questions about the originality and legality of the AI-generated art.

πŸ’‘Copyright law

Copyright law is a legal framework that grants exclusive rights to creators of original works, such as literary, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. In the video, copyright law is central to the artists' lawsuit against AI art generators, as they argue that their works have been used without authorization to train the AI systems, thus infringing on their copyright.

πŸ’‘Database of artists

A database of artists refers to a collection of information about artists, which in the context of the video, includes their works used to train AI art generators. The leak of this database has caused controversy as it reveals the names of the artists whose works were used without their knowledge or consent.

πŸ’‘Derivative works

Derivative works are creations that are based on or derived from one or more existing works. In the video, the concept is crucial as it discusses how AI art generators can create imitations of artists' works and then use these imitations to train themselves, effectively removing the original art from the database and making it difficult to trace back to the source, raising questions about copyright infringement.

πŸ’‘Laundering of art

Laundering of art in this context refers to the process of obscuring the origin of an artwork by using AI to create derivative works that are difficult to trace back to the original artist. This practice is likened to copyright laundering, where the original source of the creative work is hidden or distorted.

πŸ’‘Artists' rights

Artists' rights refer to the legal and moral entitlements of creators to control and benefit from their creative works. In the video, these rights are being challenged by the use of AI art generators, which artists argue have violated their rights by using their works without permission or fair compensation.

πŸ’‘Creative act

A creative act is the process of producing something new and original through the use of imagination, skill, and original thought. In the video, there is a debate about whether the operation of AI art generators constitutes a creative act, with some arguing that it is merely a replication process rather than a genuine act of creation.


Imitation refers to the act of copying or mimicking the work of another, often to learn or as a form of flattery. In the context of the video, imitation is a fundamental concept as AI art generators are based on the idea of creating works that imitate or are inspired by existing art, which raises ethical and legal questions about originality and the value of imitation in art.

πŸ’‘Generative AI

Generative AI refers to artificial intelligence systems that can create new content, such as images, text, or music, based on patterns learned from existing data. The video discusses the broader implications of generative AI, including its potential to impact jobs and transform various industries.


Adaptability is the ability to adjust and cope effectively with new conditions or challenges. In the video, adaptability is highlighted as a crucial skill in the context of evolving technology and the changing landscape of artistic creation, emphasizing the need for individuals to learn and apply new skills in response to technological advancements.

πŸ’‘Skill synthesis

Skill synthesis is the process of combining knowledge and skills from different disciplines to create a unique and innovative outcome. In the video, it is presented as a valuable skill in the context of AI art generation, where the ability to take AI-produced images and transform them into more complex and meaningful works sets artists apart.


Thousands of artists are rallying to sue AI art generators like Mid Journey, marking a significant development in the ongoing debate about the intersection of AI and art.

A secret list containing the names of artists used to train Mid Journey has been leaked online, sparking controversy and legal action.

Riot Games artist John Lamb released screenshots and a list of artists used in Mid Journey's training, revealing the extent to which AI art relies on existing human creations.

Mid Journey's CEO, David Holtz, acknowledged that the AI uses both genres and artist names, highlighting the complexity of AI's reliance on human creativity.

The leaked conversations suggest that Mid Journey developers discussed 'laundering' artist styles, raising ethical and legal questions about the creation and training of AI art algorithms.

Artists are concerned that AI art generators may devalue human creativity by creating derivative works without proper attribution or compensation.

The lawsuit against Mid Journey, Stability AI, Runway, and Deviant Art argues that AI art generators exploit artists' works without acknowledging their fundamental role in creating these technologies.

AI art's potential to generate images from descriptions challenges the traditional notions of originality and authorship in the art world.

The debate over AI and art echoes historical discussions about imitation and creativity, with artists like Salvador Dali and Mark Twain noting the importance of imitation in creation.

The evolving landscape of art and technology, including AI, presents new opportunities for artists to adapt and thrive in the digital age.

The legal proceedings in the US courts regarding AI art reflect a broader societal conversation about the role of AI in various creative industries.

The development of AI art and other generative AI technologies is likely to impact a vast range of jobs and industries, prompting discussions about the future of work and skill development.

OpenAI's call for copyright exemptions to support the development of AI technologies like Chat GPT indicates the tension between existing legal frameworks and the rapid advancement of AI.

Skillshare, as the world's largest online learning community, offers courses that can help individuals adapt to the changing landscape brought about by AI and other technological advancements.

Investing in personal learning and development, especially through platforms like Skillshare, is presented as a valuable strategy for navigating the future of work in an AI-influenced world.

The discussion around AI art and its implications is far from over, with the potential for significant legal, ethical, and cultural shifts in the way we understand creativity and authorship.