Database of 16,000+ artists used to train Midjourney

Occurred: 2022-

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A database listing the names of over 16,000 artists, including Banksy, David Hockney, Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, and Damian Hirst, were purportedly used to train the Midjourney image generator.

The 'Midjourney Style List' was allegedly used during a process of refining the model's ability to mimic works of the selected artists and their styles. These outputs were then prominently featured as reference material for image creation. 

The list was first published to a Discord server in February 2022 by Midjourney CEO David Holz, who welcomed the addition of the artists' names to the training of the model. Part of the list was included in a court document (pdf) filed late November 2023 as part of a class-action lawsuit against DeviantArt, Midjourney, Stability AI, and Runway AI.

The emergence of the list raised questions about possible copyight violations by Midjourney. It also reinvigorated debate about copyright and consent in the generation of AI images.


Developer: Midjourney
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Train model
Technology: Database; Machine learning
Issue: Copyright; Ethics
Transparency: Governance