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The furry internet drama raises big questions about artificial intelligence

Much of the fun of internet drama comes from its light-heartedness, but sometimes an online shit festival suggests something bigger. The AI-powered furry art page last week thisfursonadoesnotexist did just that, lighting a fandom firestorm while highlighting an important debate about digital art. T.The algorithm rained on more than 55,000 images pulled (without permission) from a furry art forum, and was a simple case of art theft for some. It was an opportunity for others break out the popcorn. But legal scholars who spoke to Gizmodo said the conflict raised delicate questions about property in the age of AI̵

1; Questions that ultimately have to be asked be answered in court.

Arfa, the programmer behind this Fursonadoesnotexist, he says used the same Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) architecture behind the site thispersondoesnotexist to generate around 186,000 furry portraits. As he posted it Project on Twitter Last Wednesday, dozens of commentators rushed to complain. While many were intrigued by the project, some members of the furry community Arfas refused unauthorized use of art from the furry forum e621.net as training data. At least one person tried (and failed) to find evidence that the algorithm is correct Copy images from e621.net directly. And within a few days the entire website was hit a DMCA copyright infringement complaint. (T.The company that Arfa issued the DMCA for, refused to submit the message and requested it will be withdrawn.)

A certain degree Setback is understandable. The furry fandom has long been a close community of independentsdent creators supported by individuals commissions. A Project aimed in mass-producing fursonas– With Original art as training materialno less – could be seen as a threat to the livelihood of the creators. Something Commentators accused Arfa disrespect and asked the choice too Optical output from the project. Others complained that their work was uploaded to e621 without their permission.

The creator of this fursonadoesnotexist believes that this would be the case been It is impossible to contact all the artists involved. Arfa told Gizmodo that he had scratched off 200,000 pictures, which were then narrowed down to a 55,000-Image training set Representation of approximately 10,000 different artists –Creator who can now go under different names or have left the fandom completely. According to Arfa He is more than ready to take one picture down from thisfursonadoesnotexist if it clearly copies an original character, but he says he has yet to see credible evidence of this.

To defend the originality of the AI The site has produced a collection of muddy fursonas whose insane craziness inspired a flood of Memes. “Some of them have designs that are so … specific? Holistic? “A commentator on Hacker News wrote, Link with a fursona stick with a tail out of her head and an adorable one semi-shaped cat mouse. Are these Cronenberg-like Misfit furries screaming “LOVE ME” or “SAVE ME” with their wild eyes? The art world loves liminality – that is added value exactly there.

Illustration for article entitled The Internet Furry Drama, which raises big questions about artificial intelligence

picture:: Thisfursonadoesnotexist

Furry artists are not alone in facing the dilemma of digital manipulation. Just melast month, Jay-Z filed DMCA deactivation notifications against a YouTuber using speech synthesis software to make his voice read this Genesis book and cover Billy Joels “We didn’t light the fire.” While experts Gizmodo explained that Jay Z’s problem is not copyrighted because copyright law does not cover language patterns, both of which are incidents propose A future in which the art of machine learning is widespread and even commonplace. In such a future can be the original of an artist Work as training material? If so, for what purpose? (In Jay Z’s caseYouTube ultimately allowed that Videos.)

The monkey and the camera

one significant Hurdle an AI art legal action should be clear is proof of actual copyright Injury, not just use. To be suable, it has to be an offensive job “essentially similar to “the source work – a determination that would be up to the courts to decide. But if an AI does violate on a copyrighted work, Who is responsible? The lawyer of the art world, Nicholas O’Donnell compared the question to those asked when PETA attempted to copyright a monkey who had taken a viral selfie. A US court dismissed the case. to find that Works by animals cannot be protected by copyright. “One of the things that [decision] The need for the author to be a person was in the spotlight, ”said O’Donnell. But is the AI ​​the monkey or the camera?

It could be a bit of both –also not. The AI ​​itself cannot be held responsible for violations, but unlike a monkey or a camera, you can train the AI ​​so that it does not commit any violations. Ultimately, it is up to the programmer to ensure that the training data is wide enough so that the program does not predictably spit out similar work. “If the program is used as a tool, the alleged infringer’s identity is someone who uses the tools to potentially violate a protected work,” said O’Donnell. “And the narrower the scope of the program objective, the more you can see that this is being argued. If I take a program and everything I put in front of it is protected work – and then I say: “The program [infringed], not me,’ that doesn’t really fly. “When asked whether the AI generated image below looks “essentially similar “ Regarding pictures on e621, O’Donnell said: “I don’t know. I don’t know. It doesn’t jump off the page.”

Illustration for article titled The Internet Furry Drama that raises big questions about artificial intelligence

picture:: Thisfursonadoesnotexist; e621.net

Nick Wilde

“AI learns, but it also copies,” explains Jon Garon, who teaches intellectual property, cybersecurity, and technology law at Nova Southeastern University. said Gizmodo. Survive a legal challenge, an artistic AI should trained in the same way that an art student learns not to copy a masterpiece. IIf it duplicates a job in its database, then the developer ccould be held responsible.

In the case of this Fursonadoesnotexist, Garon said that a possible plaintiff is Disney. Given the amount of fanart that can be found on e621, it’sIt is not surprising that some of the pictures on the website look suspicious like copyrighted Company characters: Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Disney Zootopia, even an unholy Amalgam of the two;; Rouge the bat by Sonic the Hedgehog; Nala from The Lion King. Because intermediate copiers don’t matter, Garon explained: If someone steals their song and publishes it on YouTube and the song finally makes it onto a pop star’s album, they could still sue the pop star.

“If [a program] If a million pictures of Mickey Mouse are shown, the AI ​​will have the potential to create a job that is very different from each picture, ”said Garon. “However, since all of the images are variations of the same copyrighted Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse must be copied. And then Disney would have a case directly against the AI ​​programmer.”

The monkey on a typewriter

The injury problem freaks when one AI randomlygenerated an almost identical version of a work That was not used to train his Algorithm. IIf the AI ​​has never seen a version of the work, it cannot violate it.

“If their work has never been copied, there is no copyright claim,” said Zahr Said, professor at the law school at the University of Washington, Gizmodo. Said pointed to the famous judge Learned Hand 1936 Declaration in a copyright case against Metro-Goldwyn Pictures:

… if a man who had never known magically composed a new keats ode on a Greek urn, he would be an “author” and if he protected it by copyright, others could not copy this poem, though of course they could copy Keats.

Hand referred to the Idea of ​​independent creation when two authors happen to create the same work. “It’s rarely found, but it couldn’t hurt a hypothesis where the AI ​​never had the work copied into the sample set,” said Said.

But even if the AI ​​produced an image that was essentially similar to that in the example sentence, you would have to take into account the commonality of the elements (in the copyright jargon “scènes à faire”) that are essential for a genre and therefore not protected by copyright – elements such as big eyes and rounded snouts. “When you work in a boarding school wizarding genre, there are teachers with witch hats and flying brooms,” added Said. The case becomes more difficult if you call a student “Harry Potter”.

At what end?

AI is broad and a Copyright © Case would depend on whether it wass can be used for scientific purposesin which case have dishes tended to rule This AI needs training data and can use it fairly. The case would be viewed differently if, for example, you were selling an AI generated Paint for half a million dollars (which one arists to have).

Said said that every case depends on the purpose of the alleged infringer, and lawyers often advise the accused to make this clear from the start. (Arfa in turn said to Gizmodo: “I’m just a guy trying to show people cool technology.”) Said the fact that this does not exist calls itself a “project” and uses its URL to refer to a previous project that was created to show how AI works. Fair use is more likely. “If there are facts that show that this programmer sells ads or downloads from the website that would allow people to avoid paying royalties that they usually pay to furry artists – that crowd out demand – it looks for it the accused all the worse. ”

“You can do great damage to a market even if you don’t ask for money for your hurtful copy,” he added.

More than one database generated by AI is needed to replace the highly valued one Artists of the furry fandom, however. C.commercial ventures to have tried and failed Monetize furries in the past –and will keep trying. Others have taken this Fursonadoesnotexist in the face: a depersonalized bucket with elements that are to be recycled as inspiration to the improvement and play.

Basically, these questions about authorship and originality are not new and go back Thousands of years to the beginning of western art. Modern technology has like a photocopier easy Art taken oldest Predicaments and made them bigger and more blurry. Unfortunately for us a cigar-waving Orson Welles is not here to walk through the fog in a cape and pontify about fake fakes. Instead, dishes must wade thrugh these issues – give the rest of us a lot to argue about meanwhile.

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