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Midjourney AI art program faces lawsuit over alleged use of Magic: The Gathering art

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A controversy has arisen in the art world concerning AI-generated art, particularly related to the program Midjourney. Kotaku has unveiled claims that the AI art-generating program has been training its algorithm on artwork from the popular card game Magic: The Gathering.

Reid Southern, an artist known for his work with Marvel and DC, revealed this issue with screenshots from Midjourney’s Discord server. These screenshots reportedly depict a conversation involving Midjourney CEO David Holz, who is alleged to have stated that the program created “huge swaths of MTG cards” during its test phases, using the work of Magic artists as a foundation for its algorithm.

This disclosure forms a part of new evidence in an ongoing lawsuit against Midjourney, DeviantArt, and Stability AI. The lawsuit, representing artists Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz, argues that AI-generative software is built upon the copyrighted work of thousands of artists. The documentation includes a list naming over 4,700 artists whose work has allegedly been used by Midjourney.

While Holz has expressed a desire to avoid involvement in the plagiarism debate, the emerging details have inevitably entangled him and his company in this complex issue.

Beyond this case, the broader discussion highlights a growing trend in various industries. Corporations are increasingly turning to AI-generated art as a cost-effective alternative to commissioning human artists. This shift is evident in the video game industry, with major players like Xbox, Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, and Pokémon Go facing criticism for utilizing AI art or promotional materials instead of employing human creatives.

The core issue lies in the economic motivations behind this trend. AI is often a cheaper option than hiring artists and writers, aligning with corporate efforts to cut costs. However, this raises ethical concerns about the impact on the creative industry and the value of human artistic endeavor.

As AI continues to advance and find applications in various fields, the debate around its ethical and copyright implications intensifies. The controversy surrounding Midjourney and the use of AI in art creation is not just a legal battle but a reflection of the larger conversation about the role of technology in art and the respect for intellectual property in the digital age.

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