Adobe to sell generative AI subscription with copyright assurance

In the quickly evolving area of AI imagery, Adobe has tried to position itself as a responsible industry citizen by offering products that won’t plagiarise or create offensive imagery. — Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Adobe Inc is planning to sell subscriptions for new artificial intelligence services - including legal assurance against copyright infringement claims.

Business customers will be charged a flat-rate subscription for company-wide access to new so-called generative AI tools - the type that can generate content such as text or images from a prompt - across Adobe products, Ashley Still, Adobe senior vice president, said in an interview. Still said pricing will be negotiated with individual customers depending on the size of their organisations.

A key part of the offering: Licenses will remove watermarks from generated images, and if a customer is sued for infringement, Adobe will pay damages and help in court, Still said. The company provides a similar service for Adobe Stock, its library of digital images. Adobe’s shares gained 4.2% in New York on Thursday.

In the quickly evolving area of AI imagery, Adobe has tried to position itself as a responsible industry citizen by offering products that won’t plagiarise or create offensive imagery. The longtime creative software leader calls its Firefly line of tools trained in large part on its own stock library "the only commercially safe generative AI offering in the market.”

Tools that generate images from text prompts have been made available in the company’s flagship Photoshop software and via a standalone image generator. Those features will also be present in the new version of Express, Adobe’s web-based design tool, the company said Thursday in a statement. There will be an image-generating cap under the new enterprise licenses, though "it would be unusual for normal use to hit the cap,” Still said.

As major software makers rush to add new AI features into existing products, few have established how they will make money from them. The Information reported last week that Microsoft Corp is charging some Office 365 customers a flat fee of US$100,000 (RM461,300) for as many as 1,000 users per year to test its new AI features. Bloomberg Intelligence analysts estimated earlier this month that generative AI, the technology that underpins popular chatbots such as ChatGPT and image maker Dall-E, will become a US$1.3 trillion (RM6 trillion) market by 2032.

That monetisation question is pressing as generative AI - which draws on large amounts of text and media - can be expensive to operate due to consumption of computing resources. Over 100 million images were created with Photoshop’s new generative tools in the first eight days of availability, Still said. Though Adobe is "not overly concerned about the cost” of compute resources, she added.

"The pricing model will depend on the number of users and the number of images generated,” said Anil Chakravarthy, Adobe president of digital experience, speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the company’s annual summit in London on Thursday. "We’re only charging extra for the generative AI part of it.”

Startup Stability AI charges US$149 (RM687) a month for nearly unlimited use of its image-generation service. Competitor Midjourney’s highest-tier plan costs US$60 (RM276) a month.

Adobe is also integrating its Firefly image-generation features into marketing and analytics software, said Senior Vice President Amit Ahuja. Generative AI for text - such as writing advertising language or summarising conversations - will utilise large language models built by other companies, he said. – Bloomberg

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