Shutterstock Adds On-Demand Indemnification for AI-Generated Images For Enterprise Customers

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The vertiginous race in generative AI imagery keeps going, as Shutterstock unveiled today that they’re rolling out an on-demand indemnification system for using and licensing AI-generated images created with Shutterstock Generate. 

The new indemnification coverage is available as of now for all Enterprise customers. It transforms Shutterstock into one of the first image providers to claim its AI image generator is “commercially safe.” 

Read on for more details on this crucial development in stock media licensing!

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Shutterstock’s Human-Review Indemnification for AI Image Usage

The new indemnification for the usage and licensing of generative AI images from Shutterstock’s platform had been tested in beta, with a handful of selected enterprise customers, since May 2023, but it has now officially rolled out to all Enterprise subscribers with commercial usage rights enabled. 

The on-demand indemnification works in a relatively simple way: Customers must request a content review for the AI-generated media they create with Shutterstock Generate that they wish to use commercially, and a human agent will check said content to determine whether it complies with Shutterstock’s standards of use. If cleared, the customer can use the visuals for their intended purpose, and rest assured it is legally safe and has the same indemnification coverage as a standard Shutterstock image – you can see details of said indemnification on our Shutterstock License breakdown

This doesn’t mean that content that didn’t go through individual review, or that wasn’t approved for commercial use isn’t legally backed by Shutterstock. However, in the case of non-previously reviewed or non-approved content, the agency will only protect you against claims that they didn’t have a right to license the AI-generated media created on their website or claims that their technology infringes third parties' rights. It will not cover the specific AI-generated image unless you have it reviewed and approved first.  

And as it was announced a few months back, all Shutterstock contributors whose work is used in the training of the platform’s AI image generator receive compensation for said use (what they’re now calling “data licensing”) through Shutterstock’s Contributor Fund. This grants that the license you get for an image you generated still compensates the artists that made it possible.

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A Commercially Viable AI Image Licensing Solution

Per the words of Shutterstock’s VP of Product, Jeff Cunning, “This is a critical advancement, not just for our platform, but for the industry as creatives and business professionals alike can use the AI content generated on our platform for any purpose, whether it’s commercial or personal, without worrying about copyright infringement or ethical issues.” 

And he’s not wrong. From the start, the main concern regarding AI-generated images has been that of determining their legal validity and copyright status. For brands and businesses, the problem was not being assured they could use this kind of content legally and risk-free. In contrast, for artists, it’s been about being asked permission and being fairly compensated for the use of their work in AI training datasets. 

With this announcement, Shutterstock is trying to solve both sides of the issue and setting an interesting precedent for what the new industry standard can be in terms of commercial licensing for AI-generated visuals. 

Are you now more inclined to use Shutterstock AI images? We’ll love to hear your thoughts!

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in StockPhotoSecrets.com and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

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