AI-generated artwork, an ethical and copyright nightmare that’s pissing artists off the world over, is finding resistance all over the place from Newgrounds to Fur Affinity to, on this latest case, an anime convention that has described AI art as “counterfeit merchandise.”
Animé Los Angeles, which is being held on the Long Beach Convention Center in January 2023, issued a press release earlier today, “Regarding…recent discussions involving AI-generated art.”
The statement reads in full (emphasis mine):
Al-generated artwork and its place within the convention space (exhibit halls, artist alleys, etc.) has recently turn out to be a focus in lots of online discussions. Our staff has been watching the discussion and has determined that based on the present nature of its implementation and lack of regard towards artists, we cannot in good faith let this type of product exist in our space.
We at Animé Los Angeles don’t condone or accept any type of Al-generated art piece getting used inside our promotional materials, nor sold in our Exhibit Hall or Artist Alley.
If any type of Al generated work being sold is set to be as-such by our staff, it can be considered a type of counterfeit/bootleg merchandise and shall be required to be removed.
With regard to our brand, we’re very protective of the work that our contributing artists create and recognize the worth they bring about to our identity and convention space. Anything you see on our website, our promotional pieces, or our products is (and at all times shall be) created by an artist that we have now reached out to work directly with. Anything Al-generated is unofficial and never approved by Animé Los Angeles staff.
For the needs of this policy, Animé Los Angeles considers any work that’s created with an Al-program that uses sources the artist doesn’t own or hold rights to, to be in violation. If, in the long run, such a program is created that enables for under specific images the artist owns to be sourced from, it can be the artist’s responsibility to supply proof that the pieces weren’t created from stolen images.
We firmly stand by this position on the difficulty and can implement it going forward while maintaining a tally of the discussion from here on out.
While they’re leaving the door open just barely for some highly theoretical, utopian version of AI art that’s transparent and up-front about its training, for AI art because it stands today—a black hole of uncredited, undisclosed theft driven by economic and technical concerns with almost zero interest in art itself—that’s an enormous “No thanks” from the convention organisers.
Now that this show has drawn a line within the sand, and with the consequences of AI art on the community and the industry becoming clearer, it’ll be interesting to see if other events follow within the months to return.