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Thoughts on DreamUp Controversy

DeviantArt has presented DreamUp - an AI image generator. It appears to be hosted service based on the Stable Diffusion and trained on artworks from DeviantArt. It’s a paid service with limited free tier.

The fact that DA introduces this service in not surprising given popularity of image generation models like SD or Midjourney. The reaction of the DA users was also easy to predict. In my personal experience the DA community tends to be extremely protective of their work, sometimes in exaggerated way.

It seems like artists often… dislike AIs. With burning passion.

To avoid pitchforks and torches, DA tries to say in the post that they understand the perspective of artists and the need of opt-out. They mention that you with one click you can tell dataset creators that you don’t want your work to be used in training our future overlords AIs. For now you can do this per image (LOL). They promised there will be account-wide option though. Fair enough. I’m not sure how ToS stacks up against fair use laws, fortunately it’s not my issue to solve.

For the reference: the laion-aesthetic-6pls dataset (used to train SD) already contains ~67349 images from DA.

DA mentions two more points I compactly agree with:

If an artist isn’t opted out, and their style is referenced in a prompt, they should be clearly credited.


AI images should be clearly marked as such.

Yup, nothing to add.

There are few problems though. First one is that some (vocal) part of the community apparently does not care. They hate the feature anyway. Well, this seems to be a common theme when DA develops new stuff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There is also a valid argument in the comments that AI stuff should be opt-in in the first place (because default is a king) but that’s obviously bad for business.

The second issue is that you can opt out from third party scrapping. It’s worded in a way that implies that the DA will still use your work for training DreamUp. If that’s the case then DA’s communication is disingenuous. By encouraging artists to opt-out from scrapping they make sure DreamUp gets exclusive training set that can make it more competitive.

Flag this deviation to inform third parties that you do not authorize it being included in datasets used to train machine learning or artificial intelligence models. Please note that DeviantArt cannot guarantee that it will not appear in any third party datasets.

Personally I don’t have a horse in the race. My living does not depend on art I create. Even if it would, I don’t believe that AIs are threat to content creators. On the contrary - they can be used to enhance one’s work and make it easier. Disclaimer: as a generative artists and open-source aficionado I’m probably very biased 😉

The thing is that DA’s community outrage and noai tag won’t do much to stop the progress of AI models. Same as threatening in the comments that you will delete all works from the DA. I’ve seend similar comments when DA redesigned the service and curbed custom HTML profiles.

The dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

NoAI meta tags

If you’re curious - the noai metatag will be present in HTML:

<!-- The opt-out meta data DA is using -->
<meta name="robots" content="noimageai">
<meta name="robots" content="noai">

and in the headers:

X-Robots-Tag: noimageai
X-Robots-Tag: noai