The online portfolio platform ArtStation (opens in a new tab) has announced that users will be able to opt-in to a feature that purports to exclude their work from algorithmic art generation tools—”AI” platforms like DAL-E that curate large libraries of images to answer human questions with “new” creations. The acquisition of these images has become a controversial topic, with artists claiming that their work has been taken and reworked without proper credit or consent.
ArtStation’s announcement came after a widespread outcry from users (opens in a new tab) of the Epic-owned site that flooded its trending page with an anti-AI logo designed by illustrator Alexander Nanitchkov (opens in a new tab).
ArtStation users will now be able to tag individual works with a “NoAI” HTML tag, or, usefully, enable the setting across their entire portfolio. ArtStation has updated its terms of service to prohibit the use of tagged art by automated platforms of any kind, but it’s not clear from the post if the tag will immediately begin blocking such programs, or if this requires compliance from the developers of those platforms first. .
Likewise, it’s unclear how ArtStation will detect unauthorized use of artists’ work if developers find a fix for the tag, and what enforcement will look like. We’ve reached out to ArtStation for comment, and will update this story if we hear back.
This is a victory for artists who have problems with image aggregation tools, but many still have unmet requirements. Some of the protesting users mention having issues with algorithmically generated images being presented alongside hand-made art, with differentiation left to the honor system. “We encourage you to be as transparent in the process as possible by including the right software, subject and medium [in a post’s tags and description]”, writes Artstation in its latest update.
Nanitchkov, the artist behind the “No AI” logo, is not yet satisfied. “Anything generated by the current AI/ML/Prompting is soulless theft,” the illustrator’s last post (opens in a new tab) on the ArtStation reader. “Sold as a utopia of technological progress, it is mostly driven by short-sighted greed.” Nanitchkov would like to see the NoAI tag turned on for users by default, and is also concerned about the vast library of uncredited images already collected by generative tools. However, other artists question how effective a deterrent tag would be.