Stability AI exec leaves amid concerns over ‘fair use’ disagreement with $101m startup

From Yahoo Finance – UK:

A top exec at a British artificial intelligence (AI) startup has resigned because he is opposed to the company’s method of using copyrighted work to train its model without payment or permission from the owner.

Stability AI head of audio, Ed Newton-Rex said in a lengthy post on X he is stepping down because he disagrees “with the company’s opinion that training generative AI models on copyrighted works is ‘fair use’”.

The London-headquartered startup uses generative AI to create text, images, music and video from descriptive prompts typed in by a human.

However, it has sparked controversy because it sweeps data indiscriminately to train its open-source model.

Newton-Rex, who says he is also a music composer, continued: “For those unfamiliar with ‘fair use’, this claims that training an AI model on copyrighted works doesn’t infringe the copyright in those works, so it can be done without permission, and without payment.

“This is a position that is fairly standard across many of the large generative AI companies, and other big tech companies building these models — it’s far from a view that is unique to Stability. But it’s a position I disagree with.”

He is not the only one to disagree. Getty Images has accused Stable Diffusion, a generative AI model developed by Stability AI, of unlawfully scraping over 12m images owned by Getty to train its models.

The media company has asked Delaware’s federal court to order Stability to stop using its pictures and wants what could amount to $1.8 trillion in damages, according to Fortune.

Stability AI is the brainchild of Oxford graduate Emad Mostaque and has raised $101m (£82.3m) in a funding round led by Coatue, Lightspeed Venture Partners and O’Shaughnessy Asset Management.

In reply to Newton-Rex on X, Mostaque wrote: “Was great working with you & this is an important discussion. The considered input we gave to the Copyright Office on why we believe fair use supports creative development is here.“

Link to the rest at Yahoo Finance – UK