Adobe Stock begins selling AI-generated artwork

Zoom in / AI-generated watercolor illustration, now eligible for inclusion in Adobe Stock.

Bing Edwards / Ars Technica

Adobe announced Monday that its stock photography service, Adobe Stock, will begin allowing artists to submit AI-generated images for sale, Axios reports. The move comes during Adobe’s embrace of photomontage and also during industry-wide efforts to address the rapidly growing field of AI in stock artwork, including past announcements from Shutterstock and Getty Images.

Submitting AI-generated images to Adobe Stock comes with some limitations. The artist must own (or have the right to use) the image, the AI ​​composite artwork must be submitted as an illustration (even if it’s photorealistic), and it must say “Generative AI” in the title.

Furthermore, all AI artwork must adhere to Adobe’s new generative AI content guidelines, which require the artist to include a model version of any real person who is realistically depicted in the artwork. Artwork that includes illustrations of fictional people, brands, characters, or properties requires a title release confirming that the artist has all rights necessary to license the content to Adobe Stock.

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Example of AI-generated artwork available in Adobe Stock.
Zoom in / Example of AI-generated artwork available in Adobe Stock.

Earlier this year, the arrival of image collage tools like Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and DALL-E opened up a seemingly limitless fountain of generative artwork that can imitate art styles popular in various media, including photography. Each AI tool allows an artist to create work based on a text description called a prompt.

In September, we covered some early cases of artists listing their artwork with AI on stock photography websites. Shutterstock reportedly initially reacted by removing some generative artwork, but later reversed course by partnering with OpenAI to create AI artwork on the site. In late September, Getty Images banned AI artwork, fearing copyright issues that had not been fully tested in court.

Other than those legal concerns, AI-generated artwork has also proven to be an ethical issue among artists. Some have criticized the ability of photomontage models to reproduce artwork in the styles of living artists, especially since AI models acquired this ability from unauthorized clippings from websites.

Despite these controversies, Adobe is openly embracing the growing trend of image compositing, which has shown no signs of slowing down.

“I am confident that our decision to responsibly accept content powered by generative AI serves customers and contributors,” said Sarah Casillas, senior director of content for Adobe Stock, in a statement emailed to Adobe Stock members. “Inventory knowledge, craftsmanship, flair, and imagination are essential to success in a stock market where clients demand quality, and these are the traits our successful stockholders can continue to bring – regardless of the instruments they choose.”

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