Ansel Adams Estate Calls Out Adobe for Selling AI-Generated Art

Ansel Adams Estate Calls Out Adobe for Selling AI-Generated Art

In an unusually public conflagration between an artist’s estate and a tech giant, the Ansel Adams Trust hit back at Adobe for selling AI-generated images using the famed photographer’s name.

Adams, a member of the famed Group f/64, is best known for his images of the American West, whose vast forests and mountains he photographed in sleek black and white. On its stock photography website Adobe Stock, the company was selling pictures produced using generative AI that recalled Adams’s work, albeit with noticeable differences.

In one picture that has since been deleted from Adobe Stock, a cloud rolls into a valley, cascading above a serene river—seemingly a reference to actual works that Adams shot in the ’30s.

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Ansel Adams Estate Calls Out Adobe for Selling AI-Generated Art

But unlike Adams’s photography, which is rich in detail, this image appears clearly digital, with darkened mountains and flat-looking trees. That image, made available under the title “Nature’s Symphony: Ansel Adams-Style Photography – AI-Generated,” could be bought under extended license for $79.99.

According to Adobe Stock’s terms of use, users are not allowed to upload AI-generated pictures “created using prompts containing other artist names, or created using prompts otherwise intended to copy another artist.”

“You are officially on our last nerve with this behavior,” the Ansel Adams Trust wrote on Threads on Friday, receiving more than 2,800 likes on the post.

“Thank you for flagging as this goes against our Generative AI content policy,” Adobe wrote back the next day. “We’re glad our team was able to remove the content.”

But the debate did not end there. In reply, the trust wrote, “Thanks @adobe but we’ve been in touch directly multiple times beginning in Aug 2023. Assuming you want to be taken seriously re: your purported commitment to ethical, responsible AI, while demonstrating respect for the creative community, we invite you to become proactive about complaints like ours, & to stop putting the onus on individual artists/artists’ estates to continuously police our IP on your platform, on your terms. It’s past time to stop wasting resources that don’t belong to you.”

Adobe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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