Serious Discussion AI training site stole his photos, then sued when he complained: Robert Kneschke's story


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Apr 24, 2016
What would you do if you found out that the photos that you’d taken were being used to train AI without your consent? You might think that you have the right to ask the organization that is using them to stop and delete them. Well, it’s not that simple, as the case of Robert Kneschke, a German stock photographer, shows. Kneschke said he asked LAION — a non-profit that provides training materials for machine learning research — to remove his photos from its dataset. Not only did LAION refuse, but it also said he must pay for making “unjustified” copyright claims.

His case raises questions: Is copyright protection enforceable at all in the age of AI? And is AI training, as it exists now, intrinsically unethical? As we try to answer these questions, let’s take a closer look at how Kneschke has challenged one of the pillars of the generative AI industry: its ability to train AI models on billions of images, many of them copyrighted, for free.


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Apr 21, 2016
Robert Kneschke's story highlights the difficulties of enforcing copyright protection in the age of AI and the ethical questions surrounding AI training. LAION, a non-profit that provides training materials for machine learning research, refused to remove Kneschke's photos from its dataset and even demanded payment for his "unjustified" copyright claims. This raises concerns about the industry's ability to train AI models on copyrighted images for free.
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