I feel this is fairly straightforward, but I have seen no explanation as to why Midjourney is allowed to restrict the "copyright" or commercial use rights of their users, paid or otherwise, in their ToS.
In their terms of service, it states that you only have the right to use generated images commercially if you have paid for a membership during the time the asset was made. This seems to directly contradict the idea that AI generated images have no copyright, and are therefore public domain (as my understanding goes, which could be way off-base). It doesn't seem like they have a leg to stand on if I created a free account and used generated images commercially, since my assumption is that they could only attempt a DMCA claim, which shouldn't work because the image has no copyright.
So, I ask anyone here with knowledge on the subject to explain to me whether or not I am mistaken. I know it's all still fairly new, but I thought the ruling on AI-generated content was pretty clear. The only thing I could potentially see is that the images were generated by their machines, but I don't see how that changes things.
The section in question:
- Copyright and Trademark In this section, Paid Member shall refer to a Customer who has subscribed to a paying plan.
Rights You give to Midjourney By using the Services, You grant to Midjourney, its successors, and assigns a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts You input into the Services, or Assets produced by the service at Your direction. This license survives termination of this Agreement by any party, for any reason.
Your Rights Subject to the above license, You own all Assets You create with the Services, provided they were created in accordance with this Agreement. This excludes upscaling the images of others, which images remain owned by the original Asset creators. Midjourney makes no representations or warranties with respect to the current law that might apply to You. Please consult Your own lawyer if You want more information about the state of current law in Your jurisdiction. Your ownership of the Assets you created persists even if in subsequent months You downgrade or cancel Your membership. However, You do not own the Assets if You fall under the exceptions below.
If You are an employee or owner of a company with more than $1,000,000 USD a year in gross revenue and You are using the Services on behalf of Your employer, You must purchase a “Pro” membership for every individual accessing the Services on Your behalf in order to own Assets You create. If You are not sure whether Your use qualifies as on behalf of Your employer, please assume it does.
If You are not a Paid Member, You don’t own the Assets You create. Instead, Midjourney grants You a license to the Assets under the Creative Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License (the “Asset License”). The full text is accessible as of the Effective Date here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode.
Please note: Midjourney is an open community which allows others to use and remix Your images and prompts whenever they are posted in a public setting. By default, Your images are publically viewable and remixable. As described above, You grant Midjourney a license to allow this. If You purchase a "Pro" plan, You may bypass some of these public sharing defaults.
If You purchased the Stealth feature as part of Your “Pro” subscription or through the previously available add-on, we agree to make best efforts not to publish any Assets You make in any situation where you have engaged stealth mode in the Services.
Please be aware that any image You make in a shared or open space such as a Discord chatroom, is viewable by anyone in that chatroom, regardless of whether Stealth mode is engaged.
Clearly, I'm not lawyer, and I could easily misunderstand what this trying to say. I understand companies typically needing to add broad language to protect themselves, and is usually innocuous, despite the claims made by others. I'm mostly here to try and gain an understanding of why they might have included this.