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Japan pushes for AI regulation to protect artists work

Japan Introduces AI regulations to Stop Companies From Making Money Off Artists Work

Japan pushes for AI regulation to protect artists work
Picture of Goku Bandai Namco

The Japanese government has just introduced some new AI regulations that aim to protect artists from AI generative art technology. It’s not full on protection as in iron clad but it does help to protect artists, well kind of.

This type of AI regulation has been introduced by the country’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. This agency is part of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. They have introduced a number of restrictions on AI technology within the country of Japan.

These new guidelines that have been implemented are there to protect the Intellectual Property (IP) of artiest and companies within the region. This strictly falls in the laws within Japan. We don’t know if other countries will follow with these regulations. However, these new regulations allow a little bit of leeway for AI companies, so they are still allowed to use work to train their advanced AI tools like stable diffusion and Midjourney there are 100’s of others available too!

Books, art and movies are already protected against copywrite laws, you can not republish, copy, clone the content or pull it off as your own. So in reality artists are protected. But the problem we have had for many months while AI has been creating “art” is that these AI generative tools scrape content. They find content online, collect it and then train it for their models used with these tools. This is why so many artists have been attacking AI generative tools.

So are Artists Fully Protected from AI?

This image was created using AI Stable diffusion
This image was created using AI Stable diffusion

Well it’s complicated. As we mentioned before, physical copies of art duplication is protected. You can’t just clone someone’s artwork and try to sell it as your own without having the IP police knocking at your door.

But when it comes to AI scraping content it’s a little different. With tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT now out in the open and already trained on millions of artists content and written works, it’s going to be pretty much impossible to stop it. Unless we implement some really strict measures, but that is unlikely to happen, with AI being a boom industry right now. Governments are struggling to keep up so it’s a little ray of hope that Japan is at least trying to help its artists.

In Japan these tools can still be trained using artists work, just like humans may get inspiration from other work. It’s normal, it’s ok, it’s called inspiration. That’s not a problem, where as cloning work is and always will be.

These new regulations target these AI tools in a more business point of view. This Japanese AI regulation is aimed at copywritten content that has been used to train these tools can no create artwork that then is sold in any capacity. So you can create artwork using other artists work you just can’t sell it. For us this is great, it allows the community to create fan art and work on their prompts, as well as keeping out bad actors that are just trying to make quick cash.

These new regulations state that “AI may be used for educational, research and non-commercial purposes”. Basically don’t sell the work you create as pointed out in this statement “economic benefit or commercial purpose” if you do this the AI creation may be deemed a violation of copyright.

So it is kind of protecting artists within Japan. As in a business point of view, pay the artists money for their creations, don’t benefit from selling their creations. Basic copywrite laws being moved over to AI generative artwork. Seems the common sense move to make.

So why the Focus on AI Generated Art

AI generative art tools train their models on other artists work
This image was created with AI it’s inspiration was taken from other artists styles

Well, let’s face it Japan is known for it’s anime and manga it’s a huge multi billion dollar industry. So it would be in their best interest to protect it and their artists. These new regulation are mainly focused on AI art. Tools like Stable Diffusion are able to create realistic characters and even clone peoples art style, which can be worrying for artists. It can do this with the use of custom models and advanced machine learning.

The Japanese government are actively trying to crack down hard on users that are using AI to steal other peoples artistic styles. It’s not like someone is in a basement trying to copy someone’s artwork, brush stroke for brush stroke (although this is also illegal). They are creating these AI artworks in a matter of minutes sometimes seconds, depending on how good the service they are using is.

Japan is basically stating that those who use AI to copy artists works for commercial purposes will be legally punished. The original artists who’s images were trained with will be able to claim any damages that have resulted from the creation of these images and the AI user might be subject to criminal penalties. Although we believe this might be if this is a repeat offence or done on a mass scale. So don’t worry about fan art you are showing for free!

Conclusion

These AI generative art tools are all over the place. People are throwing them up every few days with very little regards to the original creators of the artwork it is scraping. There are a few projects being rolled out that train their models on artwork that is free for everyone to use. But as you may have guessed, it is not mass adopted as it’s not as popular. People clearly want to create art on relevant well known artists. So you can’t help but think they are doing it for monetary purposes.

Some people online have spoken out about the use of AI, forming protests and trying to get people to stop abusing others work. But it has not stopped the roll out of these tools to the masses.

Here at So artificial we love using AI generated art tools, we actually use them to create images on our website. It’s a great way of creating images that are not readily available online, also a good way to be creative. We don’t agree with theft of others work, so we don’t sell our AI images online, we share them for free and tell others how to make them. We keep a more open source creative commons kind of view here.

Japan is leading the way forward in AI regulation and is the first country to add true regulation to generative art. This is not the first time this has been brought up as even the US only just recently put a law against people being able to copywrite AI created art. It’s supposed to be free for everyone. But Japan is the world first in actually penalising AI creators that monetise from this technology.

So what do you think about Japan cracking down on AI generative art or basically content theft? for or against? what are you views and do you use an AI generative art tool, if so which one? we use stable diffusion every day!


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