Industry News

New Stamp Recognizes AI Programs That Don’t Violate Copyright 

January 24, 2024

By Hillary Grigonis

© Fairly Trained

Fairly Trained is a new non-profit that provides certification to companies and programs that do not use copyrighted work in their AI training data. The certification includes multiple license types including permissive open licenses, but excludes companies claiming a fair use exception.

Creatives could soon see which generative AI programs were ethically trained, thanks to a new initiative called Fairly Trained. Much like the Energy Star stamp indicates which appliances have conservative power consumption, the Fairly Trained Certified stamp is designed to indicate which programs were copyright-conscious during training. The program has just announced its first nine certified companies on Jan. 17, though the list lacks the names of the most recognizable platforms. 

The program could help ease some photographers concerns over generative AI using content under copyright without the artists’ consent, flagging which programs ethically source images. While many generative AI companies says that the training data falls under fair use, many artists disagree, sparking lawsuits from individual artists to large companies such as Getty

The idea behind the Fairly Trained stamp came after founder and CEO ED Newton-Rex quit his job at Stability AI over concern for creators. Newton-Rex, who also has a background as a musician, created the non-profit in order to identify which companies amid the booming AI industry obtain a license before using works for training. 

[Read: Embedded Authenticity Signatures Could Fight AI Fakes]

The non-profit’s first certification is a Licensed Model, which indicates that the company obtained a license before using any copyrighted work in the training data. The certification includes multiple license types including permissive open licenses, but excludes companies claiming a fair use exception. The organization says that certifications are available for entire companies or for single programs. 

While a majority of the organization’s first certifications are for generative music software, the list does include one visual generator, Bria AI, a company that produces software for retailers and brands. 

Training AI based on images scraped form the internet appears to be the norm, but the outcry from creatives has sparked programs that aim to appease creators. Adobe, for example, says that Adobe Firefly is trained on Adobe stock, openly licensed images, and public domain content. Nvidia also says that its Picasso software is trained using licenses. 

If the program becomes more widespread, the Fairly Trained Certified icon could help photographers and other creatives decide which — if any — tools to use. As the tech grows, AI becomes harder to avoid with its integration in everything from from eye-detection autofocus to smart photo editing tools. 

AI-based companies can start the certification process on the Fairly Certified website

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