Jonathan Reichman is a partner in Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Intellectual Property group in the firm’s New York office. He has over 30 years’ experience in litigation, licensing and counseling matters in copyright, trademark, unfair competition and right of publicity law, particularly for clients in the entertainment industry.
Scroll through social media and you’re certain to find countless posts of images generated by artificial intelligence, or “AI.” Tools such as DALL-E 2, Starry AI, Jasper, and the like have exploded in popularity, allowing users to do everything from creating stylized versions of the user’s own photographs, to inputting silly, incongruous prompts like “red headed cow with John Lennon sunglasses,” and receiving almost instantaneous results with no further effort by the user. Users have taken to such websites in droves because they are easy to use, free, and most importantly, fun. The problem: in most if not all cases, the AI obtains its images by “scraping” the internet, obtaining and using massive amounts of copyrighted images to train itself in the meaning of certain words and in the stylistic choices employed in those images.