Adobe trained Firefly AI model on competitor images

Occurred: April 2024

Adobe trained its image generating tool, Firefly, on AI images generated by competitor generative AI tools, despite marketing Firefly as a commercially safe and ethically sound image generator.

Adobe differentiated Firefly from competitors such as DALL-E 3, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney by emphasising its copyright-safe training data that drew primarily on licensed Adobe Stock images and images in the public domain. The company even created a bonus compensation plan for artists whose work went into the first release of Firefly.

But a Bloomberg report claims that 5 percent of images submitted by these artists came from competitor image generation systems, and it is unclear whether they were generated using copyrighted images. DALL-E 3, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney have each faced criticism and lawsuits over copyright abuse for training on artist images without permission.

The report prompted concerns about the commercial safety of Firefly, and resulted in criticism of Adobe for ethics-washing, misleading marketing and inadequate transparency. 

System 🤖

Operator: Adobe

Developer: Adobe

Country: Global

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Generate images

Technology: Text-to-image

Issue: Copyright; Ethics/values

Transparency: Governance; Marketing