Can Watermarks And Metadata Solve Generative AI Copyright Challenge?

Generative artificial intelligence (GAI) for images, videos and other content could become a company's biggest challenge when it comes to protecting intellectual property and copyright. With a surge of content being generated by GAI, this will become increasingly critical.

It has become increasingly difficult to tell GAI-generated images apart from the real thing.

Adobe on Tuesday released a version of Photoshop with a generative Fill feature powered by Firefly that enables creators to add, remove and extend visual content based on natural-language text prompts, without destroying the integrity of the photo.

Google and Microsoft have made an attempt with new media features -- which debuted at their separate conferences held Tuesday -- to ensure that people can tell the difference between real and GAI-generated content.

Microsoft is a little further along in the process. At its Build conference on Tuesday, Microsoft announced web app Bing Image Creator and Designer, which can generate designs for presentations, posters and more to share on social media and other channels. New Media provenance capabilities embedded the app will enable consumers to verify whether an image or video was generated by GAI.



Scheduled to roll out in the coming months, the feature will use cryptographic methods that mark and sign AI-generated content with metadata about the origin of the image or video.

Although it is not a visible watermark, it will require companies to adopt guidelines set up by the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) interoperable specification -- a specification created with input from Adobe, Arm, Intel, Microsoft and others.

Once adopted, the site can alert consumers about content generated by GAI when modified or created by one of Microsoft’s products.

While Microsoft is a bit ahead of the curve, Google also has taken steps to help identify GAI-generated content.

Google has begun to look into watermarks, embedding metadata to signal GAI-created visual media.

During a roundtable earlier this week, a Google executive reminded the group of reporters that during Google's I/O event, the company said it was experimenting with watermarks and metadata. The initial rollout for images will focus on metadata to help viewers determine whether or not the content was created with GAI.

The company had nothing to announce on watermarks, but said it is talking with advertisers and brands to roll this feature out.  


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