back to article This app could block text-to-image AI models from ripping off artists

Researchers have developed a technique aimed at protecting artists from AI models replicating their styles after having been trained to generate images from their artwork. Commercial text-to-image tools that automatically produce images given a text description like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, or Midjourney have ignited a fierce …

  1. xyz123 Silver badge

    If AI cannot study things and be "influenced" by it, shouldnt the same be done for the human brain.

    Every singer who ever said Elvis inspired them should have their songs deleted. Every 'tribute' film etc....

    why can AI not be inspired by stuff but wetware can? just because AI is better at it?

    1. tangentialPenguin

      Because neural networks don't "take inspiration", they match noise patterns. It is, by definition, derivative. A more appropriate comparison would be kitbashing, using pieces of existing work as brush textures in digital art.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        The brain does something similar.

        1. tangentialPenguin

          It can do pattern matching, but that's not all it does. It also has pattern formation for instance, seeing patterns that just aren't there, e.g. constellations.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Machine learning can also see things that aren't there, such as dogs where there are actually buns.

            Copying has long been an established part of artistic tuition. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But style isn't, and shouldn't, be copyrightable.

            1. tangentialPenguin

              It's doing that by mistake.

              1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

                And the human brain is seeing patterns in constellations ... not by mistake? Pareidolia is intentional? Hallucinations were probably very adaptive in the savannah.

                1. tangentialPenguin

                  They were developed as navigational aids, it's a lot easier to tell someone to orient themselves by looking for Cassiopeia than looking for 5 stars that are kinda close together but not quite in a line.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              I am not a fan of Stable Diffusion et alia, and I greatly sympathize with the artists whose styles are being copied.

              However, all the handwaving claims about human creativity being somehow qualitatively different from what SD is doing are very much in need of supporting evidence. There's a whole bunch of untheorized, mystifying dualism in these discussions hidden under a thin veneer of (often misapplied) technical terminology.

              I'm not aware of any empirical evidence suggesting that identifying patterns in random data (such as seeing constellations) is anything other than the brain applying already-learned patterns to it. Go ahead, dualists – cite a methodologically-sound study that shows I'm wrong.

              Minds are just the effects of machines. They aren't a separate category.

              1. BinkyTheHorse

                I also despise how dualism insidiously comes of the woodwork in this sort of discussions.

                However, I'm afraid that this is essentially a request to prove a negative, with extra steps. We don't know what exactly shapes cognition in human brains, and especially not that it can be reduced to a sequence of matrix operations, like with ANNs.

            3. BinkyTheHorse

              > But style isn't, and shouldn't, be copyrightable.

              Yes, and as soon as the models just use style as training data, then that argument becomes valid.

              But, right now, the models in question are trained on actual, copyrighted images.

              To preempt the "oh, but humans do the same" – prove it. Demonstrate how style is learned by a human being purely from an image (or a set of such). Show the exact sequence of biological process that ends up with that – similarly how the exact sequence of operations can be shown for an ML model. Otherwise, it's all just handwaving.

              1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

                Of course style in humans is learnt from images. What are you imagining here, that cubism existed as a movement thanks to the Purely Verbal/Mathematical Cubist Guidebook, Second Edition?

                1. BinkyTheHorse

                  So, you can take a neonatal human brain, connect its visual cortex to a carousel of Cubist images, and get new Cubist paintings through the motor output, is what you're saying?

                  The point here is that learning style in humans is more involved than just ingesting images. Humans train to know what an artistic style is, for starters. In end effect, the process is considerably more divorced from any "source" images than what training an ANN looks like. The real issue at hand is what is, and what isn't, a derivative work. With humans, there is, when done professionally, less of an evidently demonstrable connection between any applicable, copyrighted source, and the output.

              2. stiine Silver badge

                Be careful here. If I ask ChatGPT to insult me like Shakespeare or caricature me like Rodin, NONE of the works that it would have used to write the insult nor sculpt the caricature would have been based on copyrighted works as Shakespeare and Rodin have each been dead more than 100 years.

      2. Simon Harris

        I’d not heard of ‘kitbashing’ in that context before.

        In the modelling world, it’s usually used for taking parts of one or more kits, maybe modifying them, possibly adding scratch built bits and using them to create something the original kit manufacturer didn’t intend.

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      AI is not being 'influenced.' AI cannot bring the experiences that humans bring.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        We don't know how humans work. At a detailed level, we don't know how AI works either. All we can really compare are the inputs and outputs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "At a detailed level, we don't know how AI works either."

          "detailed"... "we".... you've drank the koolaid.

          Any software engineer will tell you that if you make enough space for the logs, any software can be disassembled fully. Companies are hiding behind the "we don"t know" bullshit because it's both cheaper and offers plausible deniability.

    3. Lomax

      Because "AI" cannot do anything BUT copying. It cannot add anything of its "self" because it has no "self". It cannot "be inspired" because it has no inspiration. It is a dead thing.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        The Middle Ages called – they'd like their theory of soul back.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          It's true of the current generative models though.

          You can ask a sapient being to paint something, then ask them about it later and they'll be able to identify their own work, along with why they painted it in a certain way.

          These models cannot do that. By design, they have no memory of producing any given output - they are erased/deleted/killed - and so cannot even tell you whether they produced a given work or not, let alone why - even the prompt is not recoverable.

          This is because they are simply regurgitating portions of the works they were fed and have encoded. It's also why they tend to produce a lot of images firmly in uncanny valley.

          To put it another way, if you think these are not merely advanced copying machines, then using them is committing murder by your definition.

          1. Tom 7

            You've obviously not spoken to artist about their work creation. They frequently cant explain it either.

          2. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

            > You can ask a sapient being to paint something, then ask them about it later and they'll be able to identify their own work, along with why they painted it in a certain way.

            "And that's why artists with short-term memory loss are not even human beings."

            You can hook a transformer network up to a painter and get similar answers.

            Of course, you have no idea if the answers actually match reality.

            But then, you don't know that with a human artist either.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        so where do humans get their inspiration, if not from what they gathered from their environment? Illumifuckingnation?

    4. CatWithChainsaw

      I don't think the occasional doodle makes me an artist, but as I am sympathetic to their side of the argument I'll hazard a response.

      In a more nebulous sense, these diffusion AIs are showing that art, creativity; these things can seemingly be reduced to patterns and math. So it is a very large and bitter pill to swallow that qualia may be quantifiable. And I imagine that many, not just artists, would find that disheartening. So much of human life is ignoring big "truths" of nature (like how small and insignificant a human lifetime is when compared to the span of the universe), and this comes out of nowhere.

      In a more immediate sense, everyone lives in an economy and artists need to eat to. Regardless of whether an AI "takes inspiration" the same way that a human does, the bottom line (logically and economically) is that an AI will be able to do it orders of magnitudes faster. What it takes a person weeks and months to painstakingly craft, and AI can "appreciate" hundreds of thousands of art at the same caliber, and spit out hundreds of thousands of "inspired" pieces of art in minutes, with a few words of prompting. In an economy, things like inspiration and feeling take a back seat to quickly producing "product" and making money. Something that an artist puts their "soul" into, repackaged and churned out at mass volume with a fraction of the "effort", I see where that is disheartening, demeaning.

      And then, the artist is told that the computer "learns" the same way they do, and that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so they should just learn to code if they don't like being a starving artist, and also it was legal anyway, so get bent.

      I can see where artists would be angry. And I don't think they're just being "Luddites" in the pejorative sense of the word. The idea of putting "art" and "mass production" together negates the purpose of art, to my mind. But technology, but economy, so we must embrace this brave new world in its entirety or be mocked as backwards thinkers. Personally, I think this is a sick farce.

    5. arachnoid2

      Its not quite the same

      If I took a verse (not a sample) from several music artists and combined them into one song that would be the same

  2. Korev Silver badge

    Surely selling the art as an NFT would stop this...

  3. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Which Craft?

    I'm not in the art business. Some of this stuff I see doesn't look like the artist spent a lot of time perfecting their skill. Could just be me who does not know what to look for among the paint stipes or bent metal.

    1. zuckzuckgo

      Copyright Immunity?

      Maybe the AI generated image file should include a detailed AI version number and the descriptive text used to create it. If the description references a single specific artist or specific art work then copyright maybe infringed. If not, it should be immune from copyright claims.

      This assumes the version number and description can be used to reproduce the disputed work and that the training set can be show to include a variety of artists.

      1. AVee

        Re: Copyright Immunity?

        I'm on the fence about this. It's really cool what a good AI can do and it surely has value, however it completely does so based on inputs created by others. I'm not convinced the creator of they AI should be entitled to all the profits from that. If in the long run we stop creating truly new content/knowledge because it's easier to have a AI generate/answer something how will the AI ever learn something new? As a society I don't think that's desirable.

        So I think we'd need some form of profit sharing between the owners of the AI and those who created the original content it was trained on. But it might have to be something different from copyright in it's current form, that doesn't seem to fit entirely.

        But perhaps I'm being to pessimistic.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Copyright Immunity?

          Copyright in its current form is essentially:

          I have the automatic right to decide which other entities may use my creative works, what they can be used for, and the terms they must obey. This right lasts a certain amount of time.

          The problem with these models is that their creation and usage deliberately tramples on these rights.

          They could have only used works where the artist specifically said "anyone can use this for anything", or where the time period had expired.

          But they did not.

          1. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

            Re: Copyright Immunity?

            Copyright does not actually include the power to restrict anybody from looking at your art.

            It is expected that you do that yourself by not making it publically visible.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. JamesTGrant

        Re: Copyright Immunity?

        If you wanted to you could tag each inflection point with the data arriving at it - the resultant output would contain metadata pertaining to an ID of all the training data that was used directly in that particular ‘run’ - then out of the hundreds of source data points it’s possible for the ‘owner’ of the AI’s to be responsible to ensure none of the source works are copyrighted - or you could just do a solid gold job of ensuring the training set is totally copyright free…. Oh wait - this is basically like assigning a copyright to each note in a chromatic scale and claiming resultant music is an infringement. Because it isn’t simply cutting up identifiable bits from the originals and gluing them together in pseudo novel arrangements. I can see the problem from both sides and I think it’s tricky!!

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    One line

    The one line artists hate:

    image = decloak(image)

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: One line

      IMO, this one-liner image has more artistic flair to it: fc(z)=z2+c

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One line

      > image = decloak(image)

      Ah, So that is how they finally saw through the Romulan defences.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    That ship has sailed, adapt or die

    Those who want to, will be able work around this. Basically, it's time to admit, as even Picasso did*, that the fakes have won. Style isn't copyrightable.

    In "F for Fake" Picasso famously claims to be able to fake his own pictures.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are those samples meant to prove?

    Seems to me they show that training on one image isn't as good as on two. They also use different artists as examples.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. mpi Silver badge

    The thing many people seem to forget... that image generative AIs don't have to be trained on a certain artists images to mimick that artists style.

    The end goal for such ML models is to generalize. Given the gigantic pile of imagery that humanity produces on a daily basis, there is simply enough training data to build models that will eventually generalize to solutions that encompass all art styles, past, present and future.

    The only difficulty is then for the prompt engineering people to figure out how to describe a certain style if they can't do it by simply putting "in the style of {artist name}" into the prompt. Once the prompts are found that describe a style to the model, it's simply a matter of fine tuning.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's missing from those example images

    is a version of the original image with cloaking applied, so we can verify that it really does not change the image much for a human viewer.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: What's missing from those example images

      That's the fourth column, if I'm reading the labels correctly.

      "Does not change the image much" is perhaps a bit strong. Needs work, I think, though some artists might be interested in exploring the effects.

  10. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Derived versions

    It has long been the case that one can publish a summary or a paraphrase of a written document. Copyright applies only to the exact original text. Newspapers will thereby reproduce the scoops of their rivals.

    The same will apply to pictures and to music. Anyone can sing their own version of a pop hit. Artists are on to a loser if they try to stop that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Derived versions

      Copyright applies not only to the full work, but also parts of it. The exact amount of an excerpt that constitute a violation as opposed to fair use will vary depending on the context.

      And you can absolutely sing your favorite songs at home for friends and family. But commercial use of a cover definitely requires permission from the copyright holder, that's how it works in the music business.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Derived versions

        Exactly, and it's never that clear cut... Look what happened regarding Bittersweet Symphony.

    2. AVee

      Re: Derived versions

      What fascinates me is that I need a license to run software, as far as I know based on the fact that starting the software creates a new copy (in memory) and therefore copyright applies to that action. Without that software vendors cannot limit how you use the software after you downloaded it.

      It seems to me the exact same applies to feeding something into an AI to train it. But I'm not a lawyer, so there might be subtleties of the law I'm overlooking here.

  11. Long John Silver

    Perforce, old assumptions must be discarded

    This spat over so-called 'AI' is merely a fresh example of how the digital era has overturned assumptions concerning supposed 'intellectual property'.

    For the past three hundred years and more, legal minds diligently have refined the core idea of the Statute of Anne (1710) which formalised copyright. They have bequeathed a tangle of legislation. It is impenetrable to all but the few with time to spend delving through musty law books. Even then, it is a ramshackle edifice containing lurking ambiguity, anomaly, and contradiction.

    Advent of the digital era has revealed this effort to have been in vain. All along, from inception of the Act forward through additional legislation and case law, the notion that ideas, and their expression, are property in similar sense to physical items was nonsense. Digitisation demonstrated inherent separation of 'medium' and 'message'.

    The former is the substrate upon which ideas are inscribed e.g. paper, film, vinyl discs, and CDs. It has physical presence. Each instance exists uniquely in time and place. The number of instances created is finite (e.g. printed copies of a book). These substrates can be construed as property just like oxen, asses, and land, which were familiar to the first recipients of the Ten Commandments. Each can be traded. Each can be stolen. Each, by virtue of scarcity, can be assigned monetary worth through price discovery in context of demand/supply economics.

    However, digital representations, and derivatives therefrom, are not confined to particular instances of a medium or, indeed, to media of the same kind. They are sequences of digits, usually binary. They are samples from a Platonic heaven containing all possible digital sequences of the same length. Unlike analogue representations, digital sequences can be replicated easily, cheaply, and with great accuracy. These sequences cannot be corralled once they escape the clutches of their originators. Their lack of substance and absence of scarcity means digital sequences cannot conform to the market economics applicable to physical goods. Nevertheless, attempt was made to create artificial scarcity through decree of law protecting monopoly.

    Until less than half a century ago, assumptions underlying law appeared to possess validity. This arose from seemingly inseparable nature of specific instances of physical medium and message. To consternation of people wedded to the rentier economics inherent to the ersatz monopoly, recent decades have shown how disobedience to fundamentally bad law is taking ever increasing effort by holders of supposed 'rights' to stem. This started with analogue representations of music being transferred from vinyl disc and radio broadcast to readily available cassette tapes: "home taping". An equivalent threat to 'rights' over printed matter arose from increasing ubiquity of photocopiers.

    Nowadays, the rentiers are fighting a fierce rearguard action, but being forced into retreat and inevitable extinction.

    There is but one valid economic model encompassing monetisation of idea creation. That consists of a market made up from creative individuals and groups (plus requisite skills) competing for attention from prospective sources of funding for their next project. The underlying source of funding is voluntary patronage. It certainly is not financial investment because once created digital sequences have zero monetary value; they can have cultural value, but that's a differing metric.

    The 'currency' of culture is reputation. It is reputation which requires protection. This last is fostered by entitlement to attribution when a work is distributed or derived from.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Perforce, old assumptions must be discarded

      "Each instance [of a physical medium] exists uniquely in time and place. The number of instances created is finite (e.g. printed copies of a book). These substrates can be construed as property"

      Except, of course, the the number of instances isn't finite because anyone can make a copy of a book. Even three centuries ago, if I owned printing equipment, I could get someone else's book and churn out more copies. The laws weren't applied because I couldn't make another copy, but because it wasn't good for me to be able to make copies of someone else's work without allowing the person who created the work to profit from their work. Copyright exists to protect the creative person's effort from someone who can just copy.

      "There is but one valid economic model encompassing monetisation of idea creation. That consists of a market made up from creative individuals and groups (plus requisite skills) competing for attention from prospective sources of funding for their next project. The underlying source of funding is voluntary patronage."

      Yes, that's always nice, but it won't go very far when the only way to do anything expensive is to find people who give out donations. I have a project I want to build because it's useful. Does anyone want to just hand me their money without getting any back? Usually, the answer is no, and especially when the project concerned generates a profit anyway. Incidentally, there's another market for at least some copyrighted works, which is an increasing effort spent on DRM technology. If it's legal for you to take the data I made for any purpose and I can't penalize you for doing so, then I'm incentivized to make it hard for you to copy it successfully. For the same reason, if it was legal for anyone to come attack you if they felt like it, you'd probably invest more in making it hard for people to break into your house, but if an attacker would go to jail for doing it, you may not need a fortress to protect yourself.

  12. lglethal Silver badge

    A potential wokable solution?

    I wonder if the following could be a workable solution.

    1. AI produced images are forbidden from being sold fraudulently (i.e. claiming they were produced by a specific artist - this should be obvious, but I feel it needs repeating).

    2. The person operating the AI may not claim that the art belongs to them, or was produced by them, or claim any ownedeship of the produced works

    3. AI produced art does not receive copyright protection. In the same way that an AI cannot patent something, neither can an AI claim copyright.

    Now go forth. AI produced art can proliferate on the internet, but it's value is effectively 0, as it can be copied by anyone. If they cannot fraudulently claim it's produced by Artist A, then Artist A, can clearly deny that it is produced by them, and fans of Artist A will hopefully still seek out their "original" works for purchase. Since the work cant be copyrighted, it will likely not be used in any other form of media, except where the producers are willing to either lose the art works, or have things copied from them.

    Just a quick couple of ideas for finding a way forward, that balances the needs of artists with those of the wider community. Replies on the back of a beer coaster... (or below...)

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: A potential wokable solution?

      The first suggestion is already illegal as fraud (except possibly the corner case where the person named was the one operating the software to produce the image, but if it was just "in the style of X" then selling it as by X would certainly be fraud).

      The other two sound good, but may not be enough to ease the fears of the people who created the works in the first place. I don't have a solution to that, so for now I suggest we use yours and see what happens, but people may still object to the use of images generated from their work even if no copyright is claimed. For example, such images could still be used in advertising of something else or could be put on sale with the assumption that buyers will assume they're copyrighted while never actually saying they are, and both approaches could still generate a profit.

    2. Lomax

      Re: A potential wokable solution?

      My suggestion: switch off the Internet. It's not nearly as useful as it was supposed to be, and may in fact be doing more harm than good. Don't agree? Then tell me, really, how has it improved human existence? Other than providing a way to further concentrate wealth and power in ever fewer hands, giving us the ability to troll each other anonymously at scale, and handing undemocratic forces the means of mass surveillance on a level that would shock even Orwell - providing a grossly inflated source of income to self important developer types who spend their days unquestioningly aiding our assimilation by the borg in the process, while robbing anyone with a creative mindset of their means, and turning everyone else into a miserable social media addict. I used to be its biggest proponent; now I can't wait for WWIII to finish it off.

      Icon: nuke it from orbit before it's too late.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Then tell me, really, how has it improved human existence?

        while it sounds like I'm repeating the big tech lie, I do agree with them, that it has improved existence for those humans who might have never been able to get out of poverty, had it not been the 'internets' as a venue where their skills flourish and bring them income. Yes, this includes Nigerian scammers, but their number (I hope!) is much lower in comparison with numbers of humans earning money through 'honest' internet-related employment. Yes, in the process, those who had 0, might have 1, and those who had 100, have 50, and those who had 1M, have 1B, so it's extremely inefficent wealth distribution, but it still doesn't change the fact, that those that had 0 have gained 1. I'm not arguing that this is an efficient way to enrich those who have 0, there's little efficienty around, unless it involves your own profit, but the fact of 0 turning into 1 remains. I think.

      2. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Switch off the Internet


        It's really scary how these last few years have gone so close to the plot of Deus Ex - a 1999 PC game based on a mashup of conspiracy theories around at the time. (There is only one Deus Ex game as far as I'm concerned. The others are not worth mentioning, a bit like The Matrix sequels)

        If you don't have time to play it, I'd recommend watching it.

        If you do want to play it, I'd recommend using "Deus Ex Transcended" which makes it work much better on modern hardware.

        Spoiler alert: A shadow government has taken over - controlled by tech corporations rather than politicians. For years it has used the tax system to ensure that corporations consolidate until they become more powerful than governments. They have imposed a global super surveillance state, powered by AI. They plot false-flag operations against their enemies who they then ensure are labeled as terrorists. They create a deadly global pandemic and impose lockdowns, while at the same time manufacturing a vaccine, which it turns out is just a DRM-key for their virus. They control the Internet and practically every device on the planet through their pervasive AI.

        When I first played the game age 15, I always liked the "merge with the AI and become a benevolent dictator" ending. But as I've replayed it, I've always picked the "Blow up the AI and take the internet with it" option.

        I've become old enough and wise enough to know that there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator, and even if there were, he/she/it would be usurped pretty quickly by someone malevolent.

    3. druck Silver badge

      Re: A potential wokable solution?

      The solution is the creator of the AI should be legally obliged to have the obtained rights to every image (or textual work or source code) used in their training data. If they can't prove that, an injunction can be sought banning its use, and they face being sued out of existence.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A potential wokable solution?

      4. Any work/product including such a non-copyrightable image is also not copyrightable.

      BTW, if I train one of these programs on commercial logos and the like, should I expect any complaints about the generated images ?

      1. Catkin Silver badge

        Re: A potential wokable solution?

        If you did use a training set of commercial logos and faced legal action for it, the means by which you'd produced the image would be immaterial to the case. At worst, it would hurt your defence because it demonstrates intent to copy, just as having a series of tracings where you physically copied parts of the logo would be incriminating.

        The real issues would be confusing similarity and/or your attempted use. Perhaps the worst thing you could do is attempt to sell a competing product using a confusingly similar logo but that would apply just as much if you doodled out a yellow inverted 'W' on a red background and used that to sell hamburgers as it would if you'd used hours of GPU time to come up with something similar. At the same time, if you were drawing a comic and wanted to make a generic soft drink logo which wasn't used in a defamatory way (e.g. claiming it caused cancer) then you'd probably be fine.

  13. johnrwalker

    Sounds a bit overwrought. There must be millions of cheapish reproductions of say Picassos works all around the world. Doesn't stop some from bidding millions to own a actual real Picasso.

    It could be different for artists who actually make sell purely digital works ,not sure.

    As for copyright on " styles" that would be a box that even Pandora wouldn't open.

  14. Mitoo Bobsworth

    The problem isn't AI

    It's the people who will misuse it.

  15. Grunchy Silver badge

    Pica your own Asso

    Personally I find there’s no difference between a worthless print and the priceless original. As a matter of fact, most of what Escher made were woodcut print masters, so in effect every copy anybody ever saw was always “just a print.”

    Anyway, if Picasso was any good then why wouldn’t you see more of his work around in print form? Anybody who says they love Picasso so much, show me the print! I don’t care for Picasso but I do appreciate the Eschers.

    (I have yet to see any worthwhile Dall-E interpretation of any Escher btw - I think the AI just can’t comprehend it.)

  16. Ideasource Bronze badge

    These are financial concerns.

    Art will be fine.

    Financial warfare will evolve.

  17. martinusher Silver badge

    A dangerous turn of events?

    The problem with artists claiming that images produced by AI software that were trained on their works infringe copyright is that it would be very easy to apply the same logic and processes to their work. Through this we can determine that their original work is not that original, its based on the work of others. There may be examples of utterly pure creativity but they will be very much in the minority (if they exist at all) -- most work is in some sense derivative. It really is a case of "Be Careful What You Wish For....".

    I don't know anything about art. But I do know about music (and engineering). I will freely admit that everything that I have ever created has been derived in some way or another from the work of others. Occasionally I've been able to make a small, original, contribution, often by combining two separate ideas which already existed. Maybe I've created something, but I'm more comfortable with the idea that its all part of the flow. Obviously I'd like recognition (and reward -- we all have to eat!) but my logical training precludes the possibility that something I've made is mine and mine only. I prefer the Baroque approach --- music exists to glorify their God and if it is something that is sufficiently good that others want to copy or borrow it then this is taken as a complement, not theft. (Contrast this approach with today's appropriation of a chord sequence or rhythm pattern, the claim its unique (even though it truly never is) and the demand for money with menaces made to anyone who dares to infringe. Truly this is the death of culture -- and the "music" reflects it!)

  18. dwodmots

    If it is invisible to the human eye then it sounds like this thing can be removed by a simple jpeg re-encode.

  19. hammarbtyp

    The main issue is that copyright law that was based on the needs to protect 19th century authors is increasingly being applied to situations which were never envisioned and therefore tying itself in knots

    Whatever protection mechanisms are proposed, there are generally worthless because it is not individuals ripping off creators, but companies with big pockets, armies of lawyers and only interest is protection of the bottom line.

    Copyright needs to be fundamentally re-thought to re-balance the protection and make it more applicable to the digital world

  20. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    I'd say just get rid of copyright all together.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like