Adobe Confronted for Selling AI-Generated “Ansel Adams-Style” Images

Adobe faced criticism this weekend from the Ansel Adams estate, which accused the company of selling AI-generated images on Adobe Stock that imitate the iconic photographer’s style. The estate expressed its frustration in a public post on Threads, showcasing screenshots of the images labeled as “Ansel Adams-style” and admonishing Adobe for what it described as repetitive issues.

Adobe’s policy allows AI-generated images on its platform, provided that uploaders have the necessary rights to the content. The Adobe Stock Contributor Terms explicitly forbid content that mimics the style of other artists by name, aiming to protect artistic integrity. Following the estate’s post, Adobe removed the contentious images and reached out privately to the estate, urging direct contact for future issues.

Despite this action, the Ansel Adams estate highlighted ongoing concerns, stating they had repeatedly contacted Adobe since August 2023 without satisfactory resolution. “Assuming you want to be taken seriously re: your purported commitment to ethical, responsible AI, while demonstrating respect for the creative community, we invite you to become proactive about complaints like ours, & to stop putting the onus on individual artists/artists’ estates to continuously police our IP on your platform, on your terms,” the estate posted on Threads. They emphasized the misuse of resources that rightfully belong to creators.

Matthew Smith, Vice President of Adobe Stock, previously told The Verge that Adobe moderates all submissions to its stock platform using various methods, including a team of experienced moderators. Smith noted that the most severe measure against rule violations is blocking users from Adobe Stock.

The Ansel Adams estate clarified their stance on the use of Adams’ style, distinguishing between inspiration and commercial exploitation.

We don’t have a problem with anyone taking inspiration from Ansel’s photography, but we strenuously object to the unauthorized use of his name to sell products of any kind, including digital products, and this includes AI-generated output — regardless of whether his name has been used on the input side, or whether a given model has been trained on his work

In response to the situation, Bassil Elkadi, Adobe’s Director of Communications and Public Relations, assured that Adobe was actively addressing the issue and had taken appropriate steps following the violation of Stock terms by the user. The Adams estate has acknowledged Adobe’s removal of the images and expressed hope that this resolution will be permanent.