AI Generated Assets on the Marketplace?

I’ve recently seen quite a few asset being released on UE Marketplace that were made using those new AI Tools like Stable Diffusion or Midjourney.

I thought that AI generated content cannot be copyrighted… so how can they be sold on the marketplace?

Is there official policy from Epic on this matter?


Can you give an example?

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Basically all the new assets from this seller are AI generated, and with near to no extra work.

And on the topic, I too would like to know why AI generated images are allowed on the marketplace. Because if Epic is not against it, then people are soon going to flood the marketplace with AI generated images.



I often wonder about the logic of flooding the market with stuff before you get any star ratings. I mean, hoping to profit on volume alone just isn’t going to happen, if people don’t trust or like the work.


The thing in this case is that AI generation software like Midjourney are free and so easy to use, you can generate more than a thousand images in a day if you really wanted to.

So someone could just hope to get a few bucks by submitting as much AI assets as possible. Which of course means that the marketplace will be flooded with AI assets of low quality.

Which of course absolutely sucks for the artists who sell real work, which they often spend hours or weeks to make, only to be outpriced by someone who basically just pressed a few buttons & changed a few parameters.

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@Unreal_Josh @TJ_V

Any Comments / Observations / Predictions? … REFUNDS? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Well the US Copyright Office ruled that AI art can’t be copyrighted.


Considering how easy it is to use these AI art generators it seems pointless to even sell them on the marketplace as we can make our own customized to what we want, quicker than purchasing their packs…

Also - have you seen the latest 3D models made by AI?

But - one question I have - aren’t these images created from composites of images in the AI’s databases - and are they copyright free?

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I assume that’s rubbish?


I’m meaning from images - things like NeRF and GET3D…


That’s a very interesting topic. Firstly, here is a Video that explains a bit how these Generators work How AI Image Generators Work (Stable Diffusion / Dall-E) - Computerphile - YouTube

In my opinion, these Generators can be seen as tools that can improve your workflow or just for inspiration. In my latest Asset Pack, I also used Ai generators as a base on some of my models, but I also changed the output a lot in photoshop :slight_smile:


It’s also possible to exchange the pictures, so it has more of a demonstration purposes in this case.

But I also think that sellers should refrain from just selling the plain outputs from these Generators as Packs, and at least integrate them in a Texture or enhance them a bit. There could also be a subcategory for these kinds of Packs to prevent the store from a flood of these.


But your case is totally different, as you are not selling AI generated art directly. You did substantial work on your own to incorporate the AI generated images into your overall project.

The irony about AI art being sold on a marketplace is, since it can’t be copyrighted, I could just copy all of the AI assets on the marketplace and sell them as my own, or give them away for free, if I wanted.


It is the same thing with a lot if things in life. If something takes zero effort and you can make a dollar people will do it. Just like scams on Craigslist, spam emails, spam phome calls. You press one button and cast a thousand nets. Even if only three catch fish it is better than none.


If there is such a thing as karma, these people are getting a nice big helping of ‘bad’…


Still no answer from Epic… so I guess Epic is okay if I go ahead and offer all the AI generated assets on the marketplace here for free?


I think there is some confusion about the copyright rules surrounding AI-generated work. The article listed above says that an AI cannot be listed as a copyright holder, which is what Steven Thaler’s approach is. He’s claiming that his AI called the “Creativity Machine” created the art without human input and the result should be copyrightable to the AI. Obviously, the Copyright office disagrees and has declared that without human input it cannot be copyrighted.

But that doesn’t mean AI-generated art cannot be copyrighted.

The AI that Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALLE create does involve human input through text. And while each AI tool differs in copyright/commercial rules, the “icon maker” linked here is using midjourney. And because midjourney states that paid users “own all Assets you create with the services” the icon maker would be considered the copyright holder of those images.

Here’s some good reading material to better understand what the copyright situation is for AI at the moment.

The Verge Article the Smithsonian Article Poorly Paraphrased

The actual Copyright Ruling for Thaler’s AI.

Breaks down the document above with less legalese

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You are wrong about that. The US Copyright Office is very clear on this issue, long before the ruling involving Thaler:

Works That Lack Human Authorship

As discussed in Section 306, the Copyright Act protects “original works of authorship.”
17 U.S.C. § 102(a) (emphasis added). To qualify as a work of “authorship” a work must
be created by a human being.

It very clearly means that any images & content generated by AI, even with human input, cannot be copyrighted, as it is not created by a “human being”.
This is especially obvious as programs like Midjourney or Dall-E generate a different image each time for the same text prompt.

It also does not matter what Midjourney states in their terms, because national law overrules any individually made terms.


The copyright issue is really complex in this case. Some people even claim that those AI systems are violating copyright already as they are using images from the web. I have had midjourney generate me images with signatures, had stable diffusion generate me images with watermarks. I think only OpenAI claims that they used only properly licensed images to train Dalle.


Thanks for the link. Love learning / discussing this kind of stuff.

I personally see the quick adoption of the technology from big coporations as an inevitable evil that cant be put back in the can. If anything its going to become a regular tool for many people’s workflows. Especially in the corporate / fast art / content hungry world we live in.

I think a lot of people are interpreting the AI art issue under the same one as photography. Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony is quoted in a lot of these discussions.

Also people would be leaning hard into the line in the doc you provided (pg 21) 313.2 Work that lacks human authorship that reads

“The office will not register works produced by a machine or merely a mechanical process that operates randomly or automatically without any creative input or intervention from a human author.”

The argument would be that the art from generative AI does require human input, human interruption, and a human selection process. The law also makes it possible to copyright under the compelation and collections sections in the doc you provided. (Page 16-19 / 312.2 - 313)

It could be argued that the compelation of AI art is copyrightable - making the marketplace icons/texture bundlers with some legal footing.

The issue is that no one knows for certain. Since there are too many holes surrounding AI art in copyright law today one can not outrightly claim that all AI art is not copyrightable.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. The fact that theres a graphic novel made entirely of midjourney prompted images that was copyrighted tells me theres already a path for copyrighting AI art that involves copyighting compelation, collection, and derivative works. Like any legal grey area it will be a symantics game for applicants, really.

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Yes! I think thats more of an ethics conversation on how our data is used. Because people post art on social media that includes a sublicense to the content the platforms can totally sell/grant access to that image to an art repository like LAION and Common Crawl.

Ive also seen the argument that the AI pulling digital elements of copyrighted art is no different than a human using reference images. The AI can just use the data sets faster. The ethical heeby jeebies of watermarks and signatures from AI work throws people off. Ive seen it explained that the machine thinks signatures and watermarks are part of the images humans create. Its not necessarily stealing an image and removing the signature. Though it is sus. Lol

Until the tech behind these tools is understood/fully explained i can definitely see both sides of the argument. Only time will tell.

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