Shutterstock Codifies its Ethical AI Practices with New TRUST Framework

Shutterstock Codifies its Ethical AI Practices with New TRUST Framework
Image Credit: Maginative

As generative AI takes off in the stock media industry, Shutterstock has established a new framework to guide responsible development of these technologies. The TRUST framework, which the company unveiled today, outlines five ethical AI principles that Shutterstock pledges to follow:

  • Training - Only use properly licensed data to train AI systems
  • Royalties - Fairly compensate creators whose work trains models
  • Uplift - Promote diversity and inclusion in AI systems
  • Safeguards - Control AI content risks and protect customers
  • Transparency - Clearly label AI-generated work and support provenance tracking

The move comes as new generative AI technologies, which can automatically create high quality images and other media, provides both opportunities and risks for stock content companies like Shutterstock. While AI promises new creative tools, it also raises concerns about copyright, representation and misinformation.

TRUST aims to address these issues while codifying Shutterstock's creator-first values as it adopts new technologies. It bans training on unlicensed data and compensates artists through royalty funds. The framework also includes measures to prevent problematic AI content, like human reviews of system outputs.

According to Shutterstock, TRUST will guide its product development and business decisions as AI progresses. It also serves as a model other companies can consider when implementing ethical AI practices.

Shutterstock has announced that it will also offer "indemnification for copyright, trademark, and other potential risks" for any AI-generated content. To receive indemnification protections, Shutterstock Enterprise customers can submit their AI-generated images for review by a dedicated team of experts. This review checks for potential issues like third-party trademarks or copyrights. Once the content is cleared, customers receive the same legal protection and backing for AI-generated images as traditionally licensed stock photos under their existing Shutterstock agreement.

Dr. Alessandra Sala, Senior Director of AI and Data Science at Shutterstock, said TRUST "embodies our commitment to serving creatives and customers without compromising ethics.”

Shutterstock hopes to advance the responsible adoption of AI in its industry as it tries to evolve its catalog beyond traditional stock media. However, the company faces rising competition from AI-first startups like Midjourney, as well as incumbents like Getty Images and Adobe that are offering more capable generative tools.

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