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Kickstarter Bans AI Art project


I crit!
Kickstarter banned an AI art project and also released a statement about AI art and their platform.

Hello, This is a message from Kickstarter's Trust and Safety Team. We're writing to let you know that a project you recently backed, Unstable Diffusion: Unrestricted Al Art Powered by the Crowd (Suspended), has been suspended. As a result, your $30.00 pledge has been automatically canceled and you will not be charged. No further action is needed. We take the integrity of the Kickstarter system very seriously. We only suspend projects when we find strong evidence that they are misrepresenting themselves or otherwise violating the letter or spirit of Kickstarter's rules. We may also suspend projects when they are the subject of an unresolved intellectual property dispute and/or valid intellectual property claim. As a policy, we do not offer comment on project suspensions beyond what is stated in this message. We know this isn't ideal. But we do sincerely hope to see you again soon, backing one or more of the amazing projects that do cross the finish line, without a hitch, each and every day. Best wishes, Kickstarter Trust and Safety

See their new policy via the link.

Over the last several days, we’ve engaged our Community Advisory Council and we’ve read your feedback to us via our team and social media. And one thing is clear: Kickstarter must, and will always be, on the side of creative work and the humans behind that work. We’re here to help creative work thrive.

As we look at what’s happening in the creative ecosystem and on our platform, here are some of the things we’re considering when it comes to what place AI image generation software and AI-generated art should have on Kickstarter, if any:

  • Is a project copying or mimicking an artist’s work? We must consider not only if a work has a straightforward copyright claim, but also evaluate situations where it's not so clear — where images that are owned or created by others might not be on a Kickstarter project page, but are in the training data that makes the AI software used in the project, without the knowledge, attribution, or consent of creators.
  • Does a project exploit a particular community or put anyone at risk of harm? We have to consider the intention behind projects, sometimes beyond their purpose as stated on our platform. Our rules prohibit projects that promote discrimination, bigotry, or intolerance towards marginalized groups, and we often make decisions to protect the health and integrity of Kickstarter.


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I understand the ethical.concerns overAI art, but I also think a lot of responses are uninformed knee-jerk reactions that aren't particularly well thought out.

For example, if I decided to put out a collection of Norman Rockwell inspired pieces except they displayed cyberpunk hemee versions of his most famous paintings, would Kickstarter prohibit that? It seems to hit the same "derivative" quality as above. Or what if I was an artist with a large body of work but had contracted Parkinson's. Say I bought an AI and trained it on my own work, then used that to produce new work since I physically couldn't anymore. Would Kickstarter ban that, since it is AI generated?

We are at the beginning of this thing and it isn't going away or getting simpler.

I think monetizing AI generated art or writing or anything is legally questionable. I mean I can see copywrited works and learn from them and produce original works. But AI isn’t learning, in the same way, everything behind its works is traceable to a source. I put your work into my program and it produced this, gonna go sell it. Seems like it would follow collage legalities which are…somewhat vague. Taking copywrited images of JFK and making a Monster Manual, might pass, but taking other Monster books and producing another probably not transformative. I don’t know the legal stuff but I can see why Kickstarter would ban all to avoid being drawn in to the lawsuits because of their cut on the sales.


Eh, what difference does AI make? Whether a piece of art is transformative or not doesn’t rely on how the art was produced.
As far as ownership, for now, an AI is no different than any other tool used by a person. The person has ownership.

I feel that much of the blanket anti-AI art rhetoric is pretty off-base, that a general anti-AI art stance from Kickstarter would run counter to their essential mission of lowering barriers to entry on creating things, and that (barring a very draconian government crackdown that there is no powerful lobby strongly in favor of within the next year or two) AI art is basically here to stay in a major way at this point so if Kickstarter chooses to not profit off of it some other crowdfunding service will.

That said, there is definitely several very sketchy sides of AI art, and Kickstarter is going to be a magnet for people trying to churn a quick buck off of it in sleazy ways, so I think they are right to be weary.


He / Him
The debate around AI art reminds me a lot of the early days of torrenting music. It was incredibly easy to illegally download whatever music you wanted. There were almost no consequences, and the effects on the musicians were not at all visible.

Still, it was stealing.

At this time, AI art steals art from artists who could otherwise be paid. That's just the truth of it. If AI art companies hired artists to create a database of art to sample, or had a system to credit and pay artists whose work was sampled, that would be one thing. But right now AI art is used not just to replace human artists, but to steal from their work.

I see no issue with companies choosing to ban AI art until it is developed in such a way that respects the artists it samples.


At the end of the day, AI Art is here to stay. You might slow it down a bit with such measures, but you aren't stopping it. Ultimately the market will decide what role artists have in an AI future.

You might see something similar to "hand crafted furniture", most people get their furniture from factory built facilities, but there is still a market for personalized hand made things. Art has always had an "aesthetic" to its value beyond the strokes on the canvas, so you may see the same thing.

Now is AI art likely to overtake a good section of the current art market, almost definitely. Could the very concept of an artist change, from the person who actually generates art, to the person who tweaks the program's parameters enough to create the "perfect piece"....possibly. Whatever happens, its going to be disruptive....and the train isn't stopping.


At this time, AI art steals art from artists who could otherwise be paid.
Not really. No one who prompted Midjourney to make a picture of a dragon that looked liek keith Parkinson painted it to use for the cover of their PDF adventure was going to hire Keith Parkinson anyway. If anything, they were going to hire some kid out of Bangladesh they found on Fivrr that paints like Parkinson and pay him next to nothing for that thing.


The debate around AI art reminds me a lot of the early days of torrenting music. It was incredibly easy to illegally download whatever music you wanted. There were almost no consequences, and the effects on the musicians were not at all visible.

The difference here, is downloading mp3s, was not replacing artists. AI could (and likely will in time) replace us.

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