Questions about art in the public space

Questions about collective rights

Questions about copyright

Questions about copyright and AI

Questions about individual rights

Questions about Pictoright

Questions about resale right

Questions about the usage of someone else's work


What is the impact of recent developments in AI technology on copyright and the image sector?

There are several issues at play in the AI file for the image sector. These should be kept well apart, as each issue requires a different approach, and may also have different levels of urgency.

First, there is the question of whether AI creations can enjoy copyright protection, or whether this is reserved for the work of human creators. This depends on how the AI system is used. More on this further in the FAQ.

Additionally, there is the question of the position of creators whose work is used as training data for AI systems. Without their input, an AI system cannot generate anything: the system is trained based on the data (in this case, images) fed to it, and through machine learning, the AI system will then create something based on what it has learned. For "training" the system, the so-called text and data mining (TDM) is very important. By law, TDM is "an automated analysis technique aimed at decomposing text and data in digital form to generate information such as, but not exclusively, patterns, trends and interrelationships." This data, which may include images, may be copyrighted. If so, processing them may constitute infringement. Moreover, in these cases, the developer of the AI system is profiting from other people's work, and without these people seeing anything in return. In Europe, this issue in the copyright field is regulated by the so-called "TDM" exceptions. See more on this further in the FAQ.

Finally, there is the question of competition: will AI systems eventually take over from human image makers, illustrators and photographers? Will human image makers be forced out by time- and cost-efficient AI tools? Pictoright and its partners in the Federatie Beeldrechten, including BNO, NVJ/NVF, Dupho, BBK, BOK, Kunstenbond and Platform BK are keeping a close eye on these developments. Indeed, in some cases certain commissions have gone to makers who use AI tools rather than to makers who do not. Moreover, AI is increasingly being used as a supplement to regular visuals. How this will develop in the future, and what impact it will have on the industry, is not clear yet.