Stock image service Shutterstock has signed a deal to integrate OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 text-to-image generator. The AI-powered synthetic media engine will become a feature allowing Shutterstock users to produce images from text prompts, while OpenAI will be able to better train DALL-E using Shutterstock’s proprietary data.
Shutterstock said the integration will roll out over the next few months. The integration builds on a strategic agreement between the two companies from last year and will fold DALL-E’s image creation into the option on Shutterstock’s website as an API. Like on OpenAI’s portal, users can describe the image they want in text and the AI will transform the words into a visual image. Shutterstock contributors will be paid for their contribution to the image database used by OpenAI for training DALL-E through a new fund. The exact details of the payment plan have not been disclosed, nor how the specific artists the AI draws from will be tagged and measured, or even if Shutterstock contributors can opt out of participating.
“The data we licensed from Shutterstock was critical to the training of DALL-E,” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said. “We’re excited for Shutterstock to offer DALL-E images to its customers as one of the first deployments through our API, and we look forward to future collaborations as artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of artists’ creative workflows.”
Shutterstock’s agreement is especially notable just weeks after stock media service Getty Images officially banned and began deleting AI-generated images from its servers. Getty cited legal and ethical concerns around text-to-image engines trained copyrighted material scraped from the web. If Shutterstock’s DALL-E API limits itself to Shutterstock-licensed material it should avoid that pitfall. The deal is only the latest of DALL-E’s recent adoption explosion. Microsoft has begun embedding the synthetic image service in Microsoft 365 through the new Designer app and the upcoming Image Creator tool for Bing and Edge, as well as its Azure AI enterprise platform. And DALL-E use is far more accessible to the general public after OpenAI ended the waiting list for access.
“The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding. We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and to ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices,” Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy said. “We have a long history of integrating AI into every part of our business. This expert-level competency makes Shutterstock the ideal partner to help our creative community navigate this new technology. And we’re committed to developing best practices and experiences to deliver on our purpose, which is to empower the world to create with confidence.”
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