AI and Licensing Issues

Be Very, Very Careful with AI-Generated Images

AI is all the rage. Just check on the latest and most popular on Product Hunt, and it’s all Artificial Intelligence. Whether that is good or bad, you be the judge. Regardless, the legal ramifications of AI-generated content is still up in the air.

That being said, it’s vitally important to be extremely cautious using content and imagery created by AI platforms for your commercial needs. Personal use is fairly safe. However, when you start using content and imagery for your business, that opens an entirely new basket of worms – and some of those worms can come back to bite you legally.

For example, on February 1, Google’s Bard now allows you to generate images. Using its generative technology, you just type in what you want and out pops a couple of images. Sounds great, right? How convenient when you need a specific image for a social media or blog post. However, Google’s terms of use are quite specific when it comes to their generative AI. First, they digitally watermark their images so that it’s clear they are an AI product. Second, and most importantly, they do not allow commercial use of generative AI content.

I went to Bard and asked it if I can use its images. Here was Bard’s reply:

Using Bard iMages for Commercial Use

So, no go on using their images for any commercial projects for your business. Personal use is fine.

Other AI models have their own terms of use. OpenAI, from what I can tell, does have licensing in place for commercial use. However, the real concern is where Artificial Intelligence is getting the content to create those images. Photographers and writers are already seeking ways to prohibit the use of their work by AI and LLM’s. Adobe, for example, claims to only use their licensed stock library to create imagery using their Firefly AI technology.

Given all the uncertainty and the fact that AI is moving fast, and the legal side is moving slow, caution should be taken when using anything created by AI for use in your business or organization. Double-check the licensing and terms of use. Remember also that there are great platforms that directly support gifted writers and photographers like iStock, Adobe Stock, Unsplash, Getty, and more where you can not only be sure you are getting properly licensed content, but, in numerous instances, a legal guarantee of that license.

It will be interesting to see where AI takes us. Let’s just be careful that it doesn’t take us down legal roads that will cause headaches and financial pain.


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