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Can You Use AI-Generated Art in Your Digital Marketing and Content Efforts?

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Can You Use AI-Generated Art in Your Digital Marketing and Content Efforts?

By now, you’ve likely tried out one of the new AI-based image generation tools, which ‘sample’ a range of image repository websites and online references to create all new visuals based on text prompts.

DALL·E is the most well-known of these new apps, while Midjourney has also become popular in recent months, enabling users to create some startling visual artworks, with virtually no effort at all.

But what are your usage rights to the visuals you create – and for marketers, can you actually use these images in your content, without potential copyright concerns?

Right now, it seems that you can – though there are some provisos to consider.

According to terms of use for DALL·E, users do have the rights to use their creations for any purpose, including commercial usage:

Subject to your compliance with these terms and our Content Policy, you may use Generations for any legal purpose, including for commercial use. This means you may sell your rights to the Generations you create, incorporate them into works such as books, websites, and presentations, and otherwise commercialize them.

Yes, you can even sell the visuals you create, though most stock photo platforms are now re-assessing whether they’ll actually accept such for sale.

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This week, Getty Images became the latest platform to ban the upload and sale of illustrations generated through AI art tools, which, according to Getty, is due to:

“…concerns with respect to the copyright of outputs from these models and unaddressed rights issues with respect to the imagery, the image metadata and those individuals contained within the imagery.”

Part of the concern here is that the visuals that are used as the source material for these AI generated depictions may not be licensed for commercial use.

Though even that’s not necessarily a definitive legal barrier.

As explained by The Verge:

“Software like Stable Diffusion [another AI art tool] is trained on copyrighted images scraped from the web, including personal art blogs, news sites, and stock photo sites like Getty Images. The act of scraping is legal in the US, and it seems the output of the software is covered by “fair use” doctrine. But fair use provides weaker protection to commercial activity like selling pictures, and some artists whose work has been scraped and imitated by companies making AI image generators have called for new laws to regulate this domain.

Indeed, various proposals have been put forward to potentially regulate and even restrict the use of these tools to protect artists, many of whom could well be out of the job as a result. But any such rules are not in place as yet, and it could take years before a legal consensus is established as to how to better protect artists whose work is sourced in the back-end.

There are even questions over the technical process of creation, and how that applies to legal protection in this sense. Back in February, the US Copyright Office effectively implied that AI-generated images can’t be copyrighted at all as an element of ‘human authorship’ is required.

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In terms of specific content policies, DALL·E’s usage terms state that people cannot use the app to ‘create, upload, or share images that are not G-rated or that could cause harm’.

So no depictions of violence or hate symbols, while the DALL·E team also encourages users to proactively disclose AI involvement in their content.

DALL·E’s additional guidelines are:

  • Do not upload images of people without their consent.
  • Do not upload images to which you do not hold appropriate usage rights.
  • Do not create images of public figures.

This is where further complications could come in. As noted by JumpStory, users of AI image generation tools should be wary of potential copyright concerns when looking to create images that include real people, as they may end up pulling in pictures of people’s actual faces.

JumpStory notes that many of the source images for the DALL·E project actually come from Flickr, and are subject to Flickr’s terms of use. For most generated depictions, like landscapes and artworks, etc., that’s not a problem, but it is possible that one of these tools could end up using a person’s real face, while re-creations of public figures could also be subject to defamation and misrepresentation, dependent on context.

Again, the legal specifics here are complex, and really, there’s no true precedent to go on, so how such a case might actually be prosecuted is unclear. But if you are looking to generate images of people, there may be complications, if that visual ends up directly resembling an actual person.

Clearly stating that the image is AI-generated will, in most cases, provide some level of clarity. But as a precautionary measure, avoiding clear depictions of people’s faces in your created images could be a safer bet.

MidJourney’s terms also make it clear violations of intellectual property are not acceptable:

“If you knowingly infringe someone else’s intellectual property, and that costs us money, we’re going to come find you and collect that money from you. We might also do other stuff, like try to get a court to make you pay our attorney’s fees. Don’t do it.”

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Oddly tough talk for legal documentation, but the impetus is clear – while you can use these tools to create art, creating clearly derivative or IP infringing images could be problematic. User discretion, in this sense, is advised.

But really, that’s where things stand, from a legal perspective – while these systems take elements from other visuals online, the actual image that you’ve created has never existed till you created it, and is therefore not subject to copyright because your prompt is, in effect, the original source.

At some stage, the legal technicalities around such may change – and I do suspect, at some time, somebody will hold an AI art show or similar, or sell a collection of AI-generated art online which depicts significant elements of other artists’ work, and that will spark a new legal debate over what constitutes intellectual property violation in this respect.

But right now, full use of the images created in these tools is largely fine, as per the terms stated in the documentation of the tools themselves.

Note: This is not legal advice, and it’s worth checking with your own legal team to clarify your company’s stance on such before going ahead.



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Instagram Confirms that Videos Under 60 Seconds in Stories will No Longer Be Split into Segments

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Instagram Confirms that Videos Under 60 Seconds in Stories will No Longer Be Split into Segments

Instagram continues its gradual process of merging its video products into one, with the announcement that videos in Stories that are under 60 seconds in length will no longer be split into 15-second segments in the app.

As you can see in this in-app alert, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when you update your IG app, you’ll get a notification letting you know that your videos in Stories will no longer be cut up, making it a more seamless viewing experience.

Instagram’s been testing the update with selected users over the past year, as part of its broader process to integrate its video options, in line with the short-form video shift and general engagement trends.

Last October, Instagram retired its IGTV brand, as it combined IGTV and feed videos into one format, while in July, Instagram announced that all uploaded video under 15 minutes in length would be posted as Reels, further aligning its various video formats.

Instagram Reels update

The merging of its video options is aimed at simplifying the app, while it will also, ideally, help Instagram maximize user engagement, by making all of its video content, in all formats, available in more places where users are interacting.

By shifting its video content to a more aligned format, that’ll give IG more video inventory to insert into user feeds, which it’s increasingly looking to do via AI-defined recommendations, as it follows TikTok’s lead in making your main feed more focused on entertainment, as opposed to being restricted to only the latest posts from people and profiles that you follow.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently noted that just over 15% of the content in Instagram feeds now comes from people, groups, or accounts that users don’t follow, with its AI recommendations contributing more and more to the user experience. Zuckerberg noted that he expects to see that amount more than double by the end of next year.

Instagram’s been working towards this for some time, with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri noting back in January that: 

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We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”

The merging of its video formats will ideally facilitate more opportunities in this respect, while also making it much easier for users to understand where to find each different type of content – or increasingly, to not have to go searching for it at all, as it’ll be fed directly into your main feed, whether you follow the creator or not.

Which, of course, is a process that not all users are entirely happy with as yet, but still, Meta remains confident that they’ll come around as its recommendations algorithms continue to develop.

Instagram has confirmed the new Stories video expansion to TechCrunch, explaining that:

“We are always working on ways to improve the Stories experience. Now, you’ll be able to play and create Stories continuously for up to 60 seconds, instead of being automatically cut into 15-second clips.”

That’ll also make it easier to skip through those longer videos that you’re not interested in (as you’ll only have to skip once, as opposed to tapping through each individual frame) – though it may also have implications for creators who’ve structured sponsored content deals based on frame counts, as opposed to Story length.

That’s a relatively easy fix, longer term, with the focus shifting to length instead. But it may add some complications to the process in the immediate future, as the Stories eco-system evolves in line with the new process.

Instagram says that the new, longer video Stories are being rolled out to all users.

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