AI Art Generator Allegedly Scraped Magic: The Gathering Cards For Material

Image: Wizards of the Coast

AI-generated art is just pulling from existing work people have created and throwing elements together to create what the algorithm thinks you want. But it’s not often you hear specifics of where an AI program is scraping from. Well, the CEO behind AI art-generating program Midjourney allegedly has been training the algorithm on work by Magic: The Gathering artists the entire time.

Reid Southern, an artist who has worked with companies like Marvel and DC, posted screenshots of what he claims to be interactions on Midjourney’s Discord server. They show a conversation between Midjourney CEO David Holz and others, with Holz claiming that he had the program create “huge swaths of MTG cards” during test sequences in the program’s early days, and used the work of Magic artists to feed the machine sources to pull from in making art based on prompts.

This accompanies new evidence for the ongoing lawsuit against Midjourney, DeviantArt, and Stability AI (thanks Dicebreaker), which includes a list of the names of over 4,700 artists whose work has allegedly been scraped by Midjourney. The lawsuit representing artists Sarah Ander­sen, Kelly McK­er­nan, and Karla Ortiz claims AI-generative software is built upon a foundation of copyrighted work. Holz, however, doesn’t want to be involved in the plagiarism debate. Too late, bucko.

Read more: AI Creating ‘Art’ Is An Ethical And Copyright Nightmare

Corporations are getting more comfortable with using AI art instead of commissioning work from human artists, and it’s already invading the video game industry. Xbox, Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, and Pokemon Go have all come under fire for using AI art or promotional materials instead of just hiring actual human artists. AI is cheaper than paying an artist to draw or a writer to write, and as companies look to cut every cost imaginable other than the salaries of top brass, this is what we’re left with. Programs that steal from creatives to replace them.

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