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Judge rejects Stability AI bid to throw out Getty Images case 

Stability Getty
Image credit: olivia_Brown / Shutterstock

A judge has struck out an effort by Stability AI to have a copyright dispute brought by Getty Images thrown out.

Justice Joanna Smith cast doubt over the evidence presented by Stability AI as part of its ongoing copyright case with Getty Images over training data.

Stability, a generative AI company that competes with ChatGPT creator OpenAI, was challenged in a London High Court by the US stock image provider in June.

Getty Images has alleged that Stability used Getty’s content to train its image generation tool, Stable Diffusion.

Justice Smith called into question the “credibility” of the evidence provided by Stability CEO Emad Mostaque, first reported by the Telegraph.

“The apparent inconsistencies between Mr Mostaque’s evidence and other available evidence casts doubt over the credibility of his statements generally,” said Justice Smith.

Stability AI’s efforts to have the case thrown out have been unsuccessful after arguing that its models were trained largely in Munich and not in the UK, meaning the case should not be held in a British court.

“I am confident that no Stability employee based in the UK has ever worked on developing or training Stable Diffusion,” said Mostaque.

The judge, however, said that because Mostaque claimed in an interview last year that Stability had fast-tracked visas for Ukrainian and Russian developers to come to the UK, an investigation would be required to determine if developers brought to the UK worked on the Stable Diffusion tool.

Stability said developers brought to the UK could have been working on other projects. Justice Smith said the issue should be decided at a full trial.

The court dispute is the latest setback for the British AI startup. Last month, the head of the audio department at Stability AI, which was developing a music generation tool, resigned over the company’s stated position that it should be allowed to train models on copyrighted music under fair use laws. Two additional senior executives have since resigned.

Last week, it was reported that Stability was holding talks with potential buyers amid investor unrest over Mostaque’s leadership. Stability has said it is not for sale.

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