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Harnessing AI for Commercial Projects: Shutterstock's Indemnity Provides Protection for Legal Claims on AI-Generated Images

Harnessing AI for Commercial Projects: Shutterstock’s Indemnity Provides Protection for Legal Claims on AI-Generated Images

What is indemnification? How does it give you peace of mind in an uncertain AI landscape? Let’s find out.

Are you worried about the legal risks of using AI-generated images in your commercial projects? There are a ton of conversations—and increasingly more lawsuits—surrounding ethical AI . . . and whether or not it’s safe to use AI-generated content, in general. While there can be a lot of gray areas within these discussions, Shutterstock’s approach to the subject is simple. 

With Shutterstock, you can generate images with our AI image generator—and use these images for commercial projects—with protections against legal liabilities, just like you can get with traditional stock images on our platform. These protections are known as indemnification, and Shutterstock now offers it for AI generated images.

Exclusively available to our Enterprise customers, Shutterstock’s indemnity services ensure that businesses can use AI to create with complete peace of mind.

As you start your journey on incorporating AI into your work flows, you may still have some big questions surrounding its safety and usability. After all, according to a Shutterstock survey, 60% of Enterprise customers said that AI being “safe for commercial use” is the most important feature that they are looking for in a solution.

This blog tackles those concerns and answers customer questions.

Below, we detail how Shutterstock’s generative AI is safe for your commercial projects, what our indemnification process looks like, and what it all means for your creative projects.

Table of Contents

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What sets Shutterstock’s AI image generator apart from others?

Shutterstock’s AI image generator stands out because of its commitment to ethical practices built on the foundation of ethically responsible AI principles.

Shutterstock’s AI image generator’s models are trained on ethically sourced data from our own image library. Because it’s trained on contributor content, Shutterstock has created the Contributor Fund. This fund compensates artists and creatives whose work our algorithms are trained on. 

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Moreover, our responsible approach allows us to offer something unique. Because algorithms are trained responsibly on images within our own content library, Shutterstock is able to provide the same protections that we offer for contributor content.

These protections ensure that Enterprise customers can confidently license AI images for their commercial projects. These protections are known as indemnification. 

What is indemnification? 

Indemnification is financial protection against potential legal issues arising from claims arising from the use of AI-generated images for commercial use. Shutterstock announced their availability in May of 2023.

Shutterstock will defend and indemnify customers from claims that the use of AI-generated content violates the representations and warranties in the same way that we do for stock content, up to the limits of liability in your agreement for stock image and footage content.

Indemnification means that, if you generate an image using Shutterstock’s AI image generator, you can safely use that image in your projects, worry-free.

An image can be used once it has passed content review by our expert content review team. They check that generated images do not depict copyright, trademark, right of publicity, and other potential risks.

AI-generated images will not be approved for indemnification if the prompts or output contain spam, false, misleading, deceptive, harmful, or violent content, or that infringe on any third-party rights. 

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Simply add the image to a collection or your cart to initiate an on-demand review. Results are generally in within a day or so. Once approved, you’ll have peace of mind to use the image in commercial projects, worry-free. 

These AI-focused protections are the exact same protections that Shutterstock customers know and use when licensing contributor-created content from our library. 

Why should I care about indemnification?

The simple answer is that you don’t want to find yourself in legal and financial trouble! But there are more nuanced answers, as well. It’s important to use AI image generators that are built ethically and offer user protections. Only these generators can ensure that generative content is safe to use in commercial projects.

Beyond that, though, there are other important reasons to prioritize indemnification: 

  • Intellectual property concerns are a hot topic in the world of AI.  Because Shutterstock sourced training data ethically by compensating the contributors whose content was used, Shutterstock can offer indemnification for AI generated images.
  • Safe use of AI-generated content is possible. With indemnification, brands and customers are protected from concerns involving copyright, trademark infringement, right of publicity issues, defamation, and other legal challenges that may arise in the use of AI images. You can generate images and create new projects with peace of mind.
  • Indemnification protections can foster confidence in the arts. More and more creatives are embracing AI as a powerful tool to use in their own artistic processes. Alongside them, more and more creative teams are using AI, too. Ethical, legally sound technology can encourage companies, designers, and their clients to incorporate generative AI into their own projects, without fear of unforeseen legal consequences. This new technology allows for greater creative exploration and collaboration, giving users the ability to potentially foster new creative ideas. 

Can Shutterstock’s AI-generated images be used for commercial purposes?

To put it simply, yes! Shutterstock’s AI image generator is ready to use right now, with the same protections as stock content from Shutterstock’s contributors.

AI-generated images can be used for any project, in any industry. 

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You can start generating images here . . . or you can download our free ebook to learn more details on using AI-generated images for your own commercial projects.

What does the process of licensing an AI-generated image look like? What does requesting indemnification verification look like?

Imagine you just generated the perfect image on Shutterstock’s AI image generator. Now, you’re ready to start using it in your upcoming projects—say as an advertising campaign or a series of social posts. 

After generating your image, you can request review of your generated image in three easy steps:

  1. Enterprise customers can request review of their AI-generated content when purchasing a license.
  2. Once this additional review is requested, experts who are trained in copyright and sensitive image use will manually review your content. This typically takes 1-2 business days.
  3. Upon a successful review, your AI-generated images will be approved. Once you license the images, you will receive the same protections for approved AI-generated images as for stock images under your Enterprise agreement

We’re confident in our models, so we aim to ensure every AI-generated image meets our high standards. Our indemnity—included in your Enterprise plan—is there to offer you absolute peace of mind and serves to give you confidence in the AI-generated images used in your commercial projects.

Once this process is complete, and your image is approved, you’re ready to go to market with your AI-generated content! How easy is that?

If I generate an AI image and license it, do I have exclusive rights to it? Or can someone else license it? Can I get rights to own the image? 

Shutterstock customers can license their custom, AI-generated images exclusively, in perpetuity. Just contact your client partner or account representative to purchase an exclusive license upgrade.

This type of exclusive license means that Shutterstock won’t license the masterpiece you’ve generated to any other customers so you can launch a new campaign with confidence.

This may not prevent the AI image generator from using the same or similar text prompts to generate an image that contains similar characteristics. 

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Is Shutterstock’s AI image generator tool an upgrade or can I use it with my current Shutterstock Enterprise plan?

There’s no need to upgrade. Shutterstock’s AI image generator is now included in your current Enterprise plan and you can license AI generated images, just like any other image product in your plan.

Unlike other AI image generators out there, with Shutterstock, you don’t pay to explore the options, you only license and pay for the content that meets your creative needs.

Do AI-generated images cost the same as traditional Shutterstock stock images? 

Yes, an AI-generated image costs the same as the traditional stock image products in your Enterprise plan. 

Licensing AI images for Shutterstock Enterprise customers is straightforward and familiar. This process reflects our commitment to powerful, user-friendly tools for licensing and creating content.

By putting ethics at the forefront of our AI solutions, and making indemnification available, we’re setting the standard for ethically responsible AI that is safe and ready for use in your commercial projects.  

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