AI-generated Art is Piracy – Fuck that.

I follow a lot of artists on Twitter and really like getting inspiration from their work and learning how to draw stuff better because of them.

I appreciate their work and use some stuff for references… but I would never just trace something and then resell it as my own work.

But that’s basically what’s happening at the moment as more and more AI services are using images by actual artists as reference data for AI-generated images… and those images then get tossed out and used for anything and everything.

Drawing takes a lot of effort, talent, time and dedication. Some people pick it up faster, others struggle for ages. Even if you practice all the time, you may not get as good as others at it. So, I truly respect the people that put their art out there and manage to create amazing artwork in their own unique styles.

Some people even are able to make a living from commissions… and well, AI Art just sort of takes a huge crap on that.

It’s infuriating.

Yes, it’s not perfect and there are mistakes here and there like double-elbows, extra fingers, and weird posing… but even despite that, I don’t think it’s ethical to take people’s art, without permission, and to feed it into a program that replicates it – even with mistakes.

There are people out there that attempt to make a profit off of this or that try to win prizes with AI art… and it’s just wrong.

Some people go out of their way to discredit artists by calling them “Luddites” (referencing a movement of textile workers that smashed machines as a protest tactic to get better labour conditions). These people think that “Luddite” means that someone’s old-fashioned and against progress, resulting in them protesting anything related to AI… but they don’t get that that the actual Luddites worked in exploitive factories and that they only failed because their bosses had them killed. It’s a weird comparison to make, honestly.

Another point that some people make is that “people that feel this way should stop using Photoshop (etc.) and go back to traditional media”. I honestly don’t get what sort of strawman argument this is supposed to be. In a discussion about piracy and copyright?

And another thing I saw was that Art isn’t about human expression and that if it were, the medium wouldn’t matter. According to these people, AI-generated art is still Art… and actual artists are just gatekeeping the medium… and that’s so backwards and weird.

The issue with AI art is that it takes the artist’s time, dedication, experience and talent… and it just tosses it all into this database (again: without permission) – and then the program just creates new artwork relatively quickly whereas actual artists have to put in the time and effort to create anything on a similar level. Where artists are making money via commissions, people that run AI Art generators can sit back and relax.

I doubt it’s fair to have the livelihoods of people threatened in the name of “progress”. Just because it’s possible, that doesn’t mean that we should go there.

Feef made a thread on Twitter, talking about this, and according to them the current implementation is unethical and should be illegal. I wholeheartedly agree with this. If your artwork (that you own the rights to) is used by an AI and the people running that are making a profit… what happens to the artist?

According to this article, the US Copyright Office has refused to grant a copyright registration for AI-generated art because the current copyright law requires human authorship for copyright protection. This essentially means that the original artist whose artwork was fed into the machine and turned into AI art doesn’t hold the rights to that artwork. It’s just ripped off now. At the same time, nobody owns the art now.

I know people who draw emotes for people as per commissions and their work gets ripped by other people who then slightly alter the image only to then sell it as their own artwork on Fiver or wherever at abysmal rates. This isn’t fair to the original artist… it’s not fair to the person who buys these emotes… and it certainly isn’t fair to the person that originally commissioned the artwork. But AI Art will do just that. Mass-produce images that take hours, days, weeks to create.

I mean, have you seen the amazing artwork that Ammo’s Art (Website / Twitter) did for other bloggers in the community? If someone just ripped that, what could the bloggers (Nait, Bel, etc.) that commissioned her do to prevent that from happening? What can Alli/Ammo do to prevent her art from being stolen in this manner? There are simply no guidelines, laws or services available for this sort of copyright violations and to hear that technically speaking the AI-generated art has no owner is frankly disturbing.

Hence, fuck AI art. Boycott it. Don’t use it. Support human artists. Commission actual people for their art instead of supporting AI that essentially is pirating artwork from actual people that often do this for a living.

AI Art is Piracy.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well. If you find this post on a website other than, please write an e-mail to me. Thank you!

8 thoughts on “AI-generated Art is Piracy – Fuck that.

Add yours

  1. Honestly agreed holy shit, ai art even got an entire art festival shut down because it was first place and then they couldn’t rank anything else and since people had withdrawn after they lost, nobody actually won at all. It was worth prize money too so about 100-200k USD and still people thought ai art would be ok to enter for that amount for essentially no work whatsoever. Art is emotion and talent and time, not just random images, if that were so then my 1st grade art would be just as considered right? No? Biased. There’s no actual depth in ai art and it pisses me off. It’s funny for the memes but people abuse it so much I wonder if it ever should have been created and released for the general public. As you said the ai owns none of it because its copying off others with bad photoshop and then pasting it like it’s a new work. No, not how it works.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh hi, there! :D

      Yeah, maybe “piracy” is the wrong term here but the use of art for the data base… without consent… it’s quite close to that and the main issue is that it’s all a grey area, technically, given that there are just no laws in place for it. Yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. There’s lots of people that do take commissions and people now are creating shops on Etsy and Fiver with AI-generated stuff. They can crank out stuff a lot faster with no effort whatsoever… And often, they make the prices cheaper, too – something that most actual artists cannot afford.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you 100% I think all human artist have to do something to fight this. AI “art” shouldn’t be called art. As you said, it takes time and effort to get good at what you do. To me it feels great when I set out to do a piece and I finish it. I think that is all part of being an artist. It’s a feeling, something spiritual. Geez, computers creating “art”, what’s next our humanity. So yes FUCK AI “ART”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to see that there are others that think like me.
    It’s troubling that these people not only compete in the same area as actual artists but that they also try to put them out of business.

    And yes, there’s no point in creating art without passion. It’s just wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

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