Adobe has sought to reassure its enterprise users of Adobe Firefly that they need not be concerned about lawsuits related to the images they generate with its tool.
Companies are worried about potential claims that a Firefly generated image they used commercially was based on a copyrighted image.
The courts are yet to rule definitively on a number of issues related to copyright and how it relates to AI-generated images but Adobe is trying to get ahead of any future rulings. The legal arguments go beyond the obvious issue of potential similarity of generated content to copyrighted images. The big issue is the image sets that were used to train these AI models.
Adobe offers “full indemnification”
With Firefly, Adobe has created a really good image generator so it’s understandable that they want to make money from it. And they realize that potential enterprise users are hesitant to start using it in the absence of certainty from the courts.
So in the meanwhile Adobe says that if your company gets sued for copyright breach for using Firefly generated images then they will foot the bill. Claude Alexandre, VP of digital media at Adobe said they would offer “full indemnification for the content created through these features”.
Adobe’s offer is like an insurance policy so that these companies feel more comfortable and hand over their cash for Adobe licenses.
And here’s why Adobe is so sure that it’ll win any case.
Adobe says it trained Firefly on Adobe Stock Images, which it owns, and public domain or open license content. So they feel that on this basis no one could make any future copyright claims on images Firefly generates.
There are some limitations to their offer though. It only covers images as they come out the other end of Firefly. If you add something extra to the image then the deal is off.
Firefly image, no problem. Firefly image with a Disney character that you added? That’s potentially a problem.
Be careful how you use AI images
If you’re planning on using Firefly images for commercial use then this announcement from Adobe is definitely reassuring. But the fact that they even address the issue means there is good reason for caution.
There’s a reason why the other big guns in the generative AI space aren’t making similar indemnity offers. They’re a lot less open about the data sets they used to train their models and it’s unlikely they owned the rights to those training images.
Even Midjourney on their FAQ page says “It is important to ensure that any commercial use of MidJourney complies with relevant laws and regulations related to AI and intellectual property.”
OK. But what are those laws? And in the absence of court rulings can you go ahead and use AI images commercially? Nobody seems to be able to say. And the increased potential for AI-related lawsuits is bound to make more people nervous. Which all makes Adobe’s offer a solid selling point and seem like a stroke of marketing genius.