Photographers Upset That Adobe Firefly AI is Competing Against Them

Photographers frustrated with Adobe Firefly

Photographers and creators have raised concerns over Adobe’s Firefly accusing the software giant of setting up competition against them without being paid for it.

In an interview with Venture Beat, photographer and Adobe Stock contributor Rob Dobi from Connecticut, who regularly documents abandoned buildings, say that his photos haven’t been selling as well recently and points the finger at Adobe’s new generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool Firefly.

“Someone can just type in a prompt now and recreate the images based off your hard work,” he says.

Dobi, who recently had his photos published in The New York Times, says that he saw a set of abandoned AI photos online that were generated with Firefly and was shocked to see how much they resembled his own work.

“I saw some AI artist saying, ‘Show me your urban exploration photos built through AI, I built these through Adobe Firefly’ and I looked at these photos and they could pass as my photos, I wouldn’t question whether they were real photos unless you looked really closely,” he tells Venture Beat.

“Someone using Firefly could easily put in a prompt with words like ‘mental asylum, symmetrical, natural light, peeling paint, textured walls, dirty floor,’ stuff like that’.”

Creators Believe That AI is Using Their Own Work Against Them

A U.K.-based digital artist by the name of Dean Samed tells Venture Beat that Adobe is “using our IP to create content that will compete with us in the marketplace.”

Samed doesn’t think that Adobe’s practices are “ethical or fair” despite the company legally being able to do so because “we all signed the terms of service.” He also says he received no notice that his work would be used to train an AI model

“I don’t recall receiving an email or notification that said things are changing, and that they would be updating the terms of service,” he says.

A legal expert in generative AI tells Venture Beat that he believes photographers and artists have very little wiggle room.

“You give Adobe a license for perpetuity, for whatever medium shall be invented,” says legal scholar Andres Guadamuz. “People don’t read those terms and conditions.”

Is the Rise of AI Coming at the Expense of Photographers?

For Dobi, he feels as if Adobe has turned its back on real creators.

“Adobe, which is supposed to be, I mean, I guess they thought they were looking out for creators, apparently aren’t because they’re stabbing all their creators that helped create their stock library in the back,” he says.

Earlier this month, PetaPixel reported on data showing that AI images on Adobe Stock, currently the only major stock website accepting AI image submissions from contributors, are performing better than real photos.

“[It’s] not a feasible platform for us to operate in anymore,” says Samed. Adding that the marketplace is “completely flooded and inundated with AI content.”

Adobe’s Response

Adobe insists that its goal is to build generative AI in a way that “enables creators to monetize their talents” and emphasizes that Firefly is still in beta.

“During this phase, we are actively engaging the community at large through direct conversations, online platforms like Discord and other channels, to ensure what we are building is informed and driven by the community,” an Adobe spokesperson tells Venture Beat. The company asserts that is “committed” to compensating creators.

Image credits: Header photo partly licensed via Depositphotos.