That AI-generated social media post of your dog can be Disney like, but it can’t say “Disney” on it.
Microsoft’s artificial intelligence image creator needed a reset after The Walt Disney Co. barked over users creating posters featuring their dogs as the stars of Pixar Studio features, the Financial Times reported.
The big issue was that Disney’s logo was clearly visible in the illustrations pumped out by Microsoft’s Bing Image Creator, creating a copyright issue. The matter was a growing concern because several influencers gave the treatment to their pets and posted them on social platforms, which was encouraging others to head to the AI tool to recreate their favorite posters, featuring their own pooches.
Microsoft initially blocked users from entering “Disney” as a prompt. If they tried, a pop-up users that said the term violated its policies appeared, the FT reported. A later adjustment allows “Disney” to be used, but the text and images that result are slightly different, either blurry or somewhat jumbled so that they don’t exactly match a real image from The House of Mouse.
“Reproduction of the Disney logo is clear trademark infringement. I would imagine that is why the AI might be jumbling the logo,” Andrew White, partner at IP law firm Mathys & Squire, told the FT.
There’s also an “unresolved issue” over whether Disney’s content was used to train the AI models, and over reproducing copyrighted material, he said.
“In this instance, it is likely more for fun than trying to pass the images off for their own film or animation, but that would be a huge issue,” White told the FT. “From a PR perspective, it is a fine line for Disney seeming to come down on something for fun that is ultimately raising its profile versus something that is actually anti-competitive.”
Microsoft told the FT that, “There is a current level of variability that may return different results from time to time as we continue to refine our safety systems . . . Additionally, artists, celebrities, and organizations can request to limit the creation of images associated with their names and brands.”
Disney did not comment for the story.
The matter rose amid growing concern about copyright abuses with AI. Multiple lawsuits over the content used to train AI products are winding through courts, including one brought by news outlet Thomson Reuters, another brought by comedian Sarah Silverman and one brought by conservative talk show host and author Mike Huckabee.