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Are art style LoRAs illegal?

I have already trained several LoRAs to give the arts someone’s visual style. And they work great! Is it legal to post them openly? There have been no cases of complaints about such LoRA, with the justification “this violates the copyright of the author of the images used in the dataset”?

4 Answers

There should be no problem with legality of such LoRAs, but if really unlucky, you might encounter a big backlash from anti-AI crowd like it happened in this case: The "problematic" model is still up and running ( so at least Civitai thinks it's a fair game to post them regardless of what the others might say.

It's more of an ethical grey area since you can't copyright an art style, but it could be argued that you're effectively taking paying customers away from the original artists, which is why it's an ethical grey area.

Someone pays $100+ to the original artists for them to make one picture, or that same person could pay someone $10 (or train it themselves) for a full model of that artist's work and have unlimited possibilities.

So while it's not illegal, anti-AI artists are heavily against it because it could affect their income, and they feel like AI isn't art since nobody is making the creative decision, which sounds like a bunch of elitist talk if you ask me.

I'm more on the side of everything being open and free with optional donations due to how the art is sourced for the training in the first place. A lot of the art that is downloaded from image boards is originally behind some type of subscription/paywall model, but obviously people download it and re-upload it to these image boards for it to be scraped and used in training. Kinda brings into question who actually owns the created model because obviously the model creators will assume they own the model since they made it and it's their "intellectual property", but I'd argue wasn't the original artist's artwork also their intellectual property?

Seems to me like Civitai is heading more in the direction of trying to help model creators monetize the models they create which will be interesting to see how they manage to figure out who owns what model or if they will go with the 100% reliable method of first person to upload the model owns it. When we start getting into who owns what and money exchanging hands, that is when we get into the messy grey area.

Well, I’ll tell my opinion about this.

1) Yes, the style absolutely cannot be "copyrighted". Moreover, a lot of artists copy each other’s style and no one fights with each other “you stole my clients.” In fact, some can hardly be distinguished without a signature on the art.

2) If we talk about copyright, we shouldn’t forget that most artists draw all sorts of characters from currently popular films, anime, games, etc. Nobody blames them - “you stole the design of this character!”

3) “Artists are losing clients” is complete nonsense. Neural networks are still in an extremely underdeveloped state to completely replace the commissioned work of an artist. It’s commonplace that they can’t draw a couple of different characters in different poses or complex interactions normally.

4) In my practice of working with neural networks and constantly open commissions on DeviantArt, I have never been asked to copy someone’s style, citing “the artist asked for too much” or “I don’t have money for the artist’s work.”

5) Let's dig a little into history. The advent of photography and cheap printing not only did not kill the artist’s profession, but also made it a very expensive service, not available to everyone. I also think that the emergence of neural networks will weed out undemanding and less solvent clients, and artists will be able to work with more complex and expensive orders. Plus more people are becoming involved in digital art. More people will begin to understand that buying someone's work to create art is NORMAL. The cheapness of AI art will play the role of an “entrance ticket.”

My answer:
I've trained on my own art.
What are you going to do get me to sue myself?

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