Valve, owner of heavyweight digital distribution and online community platform Steam, has made headlines this week for apparently refusing to publish games containing AI-generated assets. Steam is the largest distributor of PC games, responsible for more than half of all downloads globally.
Valve has explained their position as not trying “to discourage the use of AI on Steam” – rather it is a necessary reflection of their requirement that developers have always had to own all the appropriate rights in their submissions to Steam. “We know [AI] is a constantly evolving tech, and our goal is not to discourage the use of it on Steam; instead, we’re working through how to integrate it into our already-existing review policies. Stated plainly, our review process is a reflection of current copyright law and policies, not an added layer of our opinion. As these laws and policies evolve over time, so will our process.” Valve concludes by saying they “encourage innovation” from the use of AI tech, as long as it doesn’t “infringe on existing copyright.”
Much of the discussion around AI relates to privacy and personal data, but generative AI raises questions around IP law as well:
- If the content used to train an AI is subject to third party IP rights, there could be ongoing risks of third party claims in relation to use of the AI model, or its output.
- The position of whether output data from generative AI can be subject to copyright is still unclear in many jurisdictions.
- The ownership of rights in AI generated content (where permitted) may be unclear between the provider of the model, or the user supplying the input prompts.
Marvel has been heavily criticised for using AI to generate imagery in the title sequence of its new Disney+ series “Secret Invasion” – despite using a full suite of artists, animators and directors and traditional techniques, supplemented by AI, and not replacing the jobs of any human creatives.
Founders Law was part of a negotiation discussion this week where a celebrity voice-over and motion capture performer’s team wanted contractual assurances that their client’s voice and mocap would not be used as training for AI models (allowing their client’s performance to be entirely simulated in future).
There are significant reputational and legal ramifications surrounding use of AI generated content in creative industries, to be balanced against the creative and cost-saving potential of these tools. Old approaches and precedent agreements are unlikely to address the challenges of today’s marketplace.
For frictionless, relationship-driven legal advice that reflects the needs of parties negotiating in the new AI-enabled creative landscape, contact Founders Law.