Can I Use AI-Generated Images in My Marketing?

by | Jun 6, 2024 | Marketing

Over the past couple of months this is a question that more and more clients have been asking us, so we thought we would write a quick blog about it.

AI-generated images, offer a myriad of possibilities for marketers looking to enhance their campaigns. But, as with any innovation, the use of AI-generated art comes with its own set of controversies and ethical considerations.

The Rise of AI-Generated Art

AI-generated images are created using algorithms that can produce visuals based on a set of input data. These can range from abstract patterns to highly realistic representations of objects and people. There are many easy to use tools for creating AI-images such as DALL-E and Stable Diffusion which mean that even those without a background in graphic design can produce stunning visuals.

For marketers, this is a game-changer. Need a unique image for a social media post? An AI can generate one in seconds. Want to create a new logo or brand imagery? AI tools can offer endless variations, often at a fraction of the cost of hiring a human designer.

So what is the answer to the question ‘Can I use AI-Generated Images in my marketing’? Basically, it is yes, as copyright laws currently protect images created by humans, not AI, but there are some other points to consider.

Ethical Concerns and Controversies

  • Copyright and Intellectual Property

One of the most pressing issues with AI-generated images is the question of copyright. When humans create work it is protected under copyright law, but the legal status of AI-generated images is murky at best. Who owns the rights to an image created by a machine? Is it the developer of the AI, the user who inputs the data, or the AI itself? These questions remain largely unresolved, leading to potential legal disputes.

Additionally, many AI systems are trained on vast datasets that include copyrighted images. This raises ethical concerns about the use of these images without the consent of their original creators. The result is a contentious debate about whether AI-generated images infringe on the rights of human artists.

  • Impact on Human Artists

Another significant controversy is the impact of AI-generated images on the livelihoods of human artists, including photographers, illustrators and graphic designers. As AI tools become more sophisticated and accessible, there is a growing fear that they could replace human creativity. This could lead to job losses and devaluation of human artistry. At the present time, while AI can produce impressive visuals, it lacks the nuanced understanding and emotional depth that human artists bring to their work, but that may change with time.

  • Authenticity and Consumer Trust

In marketing, authenticity is key. Consumers today value genuine, transparent brands. The use of AI-generated images can sometimes feel impersonal or inauthentic, potentially alienating your audience. While some consumers may appreciate the novelty and innovation, others might view it as a gimmick or a sign that a brand is cutting corners.

Navigating the Controversies: Best Practices

Given these controversies, how can marketers responsibly use AI-generated images? Here are some best practices:

  • Be Transparent

If you decide to use AI-generated images in your marketing, be transparent about it. Let your audience know that these visuals were created by an AI. Transparency builds trust and shows that your brand is embracing new technologies ethically.

  • Use AI as a Tool, not a Replacement

AI-generated images should complement, not replace, human creativity. Use AI tools to enhance your marketing efforts, but continue to value and invest in human talent. Collaboration between AI and human artists can lead to innovative and unique results.

  • Respect Copyright and Intellectual Property

Ensure that any AI-generated images you use do not infringe on existing copyrights. Use tools that offer clear guidelines on the sources of their training data and avoid using images that might be derived from copyrighted works without proper consent.

  • Consider the Ethical Implications

Think about the broader impact of using AI-generated images. How does it align with your brand values? Are you supporting fair use and ethical practices? Taking a thoughtful and ethical approach will resonate positively with your audience.

Ultimately, right now, yes, you are able to use AI-generated artwork in your marketing. Under current law, AI-generated images are generally considered to be in the public domain, as they are not created by a human author and thus do not qualify for copyright protection.

This means you can use these images freely without worrying about infringing on copyrights. However, significant ethical and legal considerations must still be taken into account. Issues such as the potential misuse of copyrighted materials in AI training datasets and the impact on human artists need to be considered.

By navigating these controversies thoughtfully and responsibly, you can harness the power of AI while maintaining the trust and respect of your audience. Embrace AI as a tool for innovation, but never lose sight of the human creativity that lies at the heart of effective marketing.

If you have a question about the use of AI in marketing or any other marketing related quandary…get in touch, we’d be happy to help.