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AI Art: A traitorous friend

Updated: Feb 7

You’ve probably seen over the past few months more than ever AI AI-generated art hitting the news. Last month a man won the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition with an AI-generated piece of art which catapulted AI into news headlines even more.

You’ve probably been told of the huge benefits AI can provide with writing, design and any other creative works. Just before you run over to create your own AI Art and smother your books in it, have a read of this blog and see if you think differently.

AI Art

What is AI generated art?

So it was originally 2 am on a Monday when I was doing my reading and research around this topic. I stumbled across this article by the end of it I felt like I had fallen into a void, falling past words, phrases and charts that I’d never heard of before and got spat out the other end half an hour later more clueless than when I fell in.

Then I found this article which is a little lighter on the terminology in explaining the subject.

Ultimately, AI Art is produced from images across the entire internet and the artwork that is produced is a culmination of whatever images it has pulled together from the keywords you type in also called “prompts” it then spits back out an artwork for you to save.

AI art and book covers

I’ve seen, as probably you have a great divide in people posting in groups about AI Art.

I’ve seen people defending it and its use on their Book Covers and promotional materials and I’ve seen people outright dismiss it. I’ve also seen “designers” post covers they’ve made with AI Art as their creations for clients and I’ve seen designers post premades for sale that are made from AI Art.

Whatever side you sit on I want to give you the full facts. This isn’t coming from a sour designer who is worried about his client's work, this is coming from a professional, passionate and honest designer who cares about good design and the best service for authors.

Licensing and terms and conditions

I won’t mention names of the different AI Art generators here but I’ve looked across all of their terms and conditions as well as the licensing terms. Check them out for yourself on the individual sites but I’ll give you the breakdown:

  • The license granted is the Creative Commons Non-Commercial License. This means you do not have the right to use anything generated by AI in projects which will generate money or would give you a commercial advantage. So for book covers, you cannot use the artwork legally and are at risk and even for your promotional material you again, are at risk of legal action against you.

  • Paying members aren’t even granted full commercial licenses. If you subscribe and pay for the service again that does not grant you any additional rights to use the AI Art for your commercial projects.

  • AI Art art-generating websites won’t have your back. They explicitly say that anything you have created through their system is on your head should legal action happen. If anything created does infringe on copyright laws well… good luck! You’re on your own!

  • Anyone can use your images. Hey! Lovely fantasy landscape you’ve had the AI create for you yoink!

  • Remixing of your images. Anyone within those forums, online chat services and anywhere the AI Art is posted can be taken and remixed or used by anyone. Even if you’re a payer most sites state “You may benefit from privacy” or “We will make the best efforts to keep your images private.”

What’s happening in the designers and authors community?

  • There are already rules in place by the big Book Cover Design groups that aren’t allowing any AI-generated Art to be sold or advertised (Good job guys and gals!)

  • Work is now being tagged by designers stating “not made by AI.”

  • Shutterstock has now started pulling down AI Art from their stock listings.

Final thoughts from me

There are dedicated artists, designers and champions in the community who are tirelessly researching and committing to providing the best services and information to clients.

For my clients, I want security and quality. AI Art does not provide this at all, the fact that these websites won’t tell us the datasets being used to “train” the AI Art puts a sour taste in my mouth and is incredibly shady.

This is a real stark warning to authors looking for cheap alternatives and shortcuts to getting the book covers they desire. I predict lawsuits and legal action will come very soon. You also must be aware of the different legal forms and terms for using various elements in your book covers such as models and buildings.

The community who cares is turning its back on AI Art for commercial projects the only ones who aren’t are profiting quickly from a very sly and dubious sensation that is sweeping across social media. That time will quickly run short and the people most affected will be the poor authors who fell for the trap and are now once again seeking out a new book cover.

This is why I titled this blog “A Traitorous Friend” as right now it looks like AI Art is a saviour for cheap artwork but in fact and in time it will come back around negatively on you. It is glaringly obvious you have used AI Art. The downside to this is as more and more people are made aware of AI Art the more your Covers and promotional material blend and merge into the sea of other AI Art.

My advice? Work with a professional or at least talk to a professional about your project. It is our job to consistently be aware of and research licenses, and terms and we consistently develop our skills for best practice.

Thank you for reading,


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