Artists suing Stability AI, Deviant Art, and Midjourney hit a roadblock this week in their quest to prove allegations that AI image generators illegally use copyrighted works to mimic unique artistic styles without compensation or consent.
On Monday, US district judge William H. Orrick dismissed many of the artists’ claims after finding that the proposed class-action complaint “is defective in numerous respects.” Perhaps most notably, two of the three named plaintiffs—independent artist Kelly McKernan and concept artist/professional illustrator Karla Ortiz—had apparently never registered any of their disputed works with the Copyright Office. Orrick dismissed their claims with prejudice, dropping them from the suit.
But while McKernan and Ortiz can no longer advance their claims, the lawsuit is far from over. Lead plaintiff, cartoonist, and illustrator Sarah Andersen will have the next 30 days to amend her complaint and keep the copyright dispute alive.