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Protecting Artists from AI Technologies

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We cannot believe how quickly this year has gone and we are getting close to our one-year anniversary of launching this GoFundMe. The support you have all shown to get us here and have continued to show us is incredible. With that said let's get going on year two!

We have learned a lot in the last 9 months and have a good idea of where your money is best spent, and where we perhaps need a little more or a little less. When we did our budget for year one we wanted to be very transparent and very thoughtful with our spending and we intend to continue this transparency and thoughtfulness for year two. But before we share with you our year two budget we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you the highlights of what we have been able to achieve together as a result of this gofundme campaign:

1. In March we hosted a one-day virtual event bringing together creators of all types from around the world to discuss generative AI and what it means for their industries and how we could find ways of uniting and working together.

2. Concept Art Association (CAA) jumped into the Washington, DC landscape immediately by joining forces with fellow intellectual property organizations. CAA became a member of the Copyright Alliance ( as well as the Digital Creators Coalition ( In addition, due to relationships, CAA was included early in the formation of the Human Artistry Campaign ( As such, CAA’s lobbyist was able to suggest the inclusion of “creators” into the seven principles of the Human Artistry Campaign and thus, then become an early member. CAA is now the first organization to be co-hosting an event with HAC of their 140-plus members on the Hill next month.

3. CAA’s lobbyist was asked to join other creator groups such as the Authors Guild, the
Songwriters Guild, Graphic Artist Guild, Society of Composers and Lyricists, and ASCRL to participate on behalf of Concept Art Association in AI meetings with the following Congressional Offices: Ted Lieu, Judy Chu, Jim Jordan, Darrell Issa, Michael McCaul, Tony Cardenas and Senators Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Chris Coons, Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin and Martin Heinrich.

4. As part of its AI initiative, the United States Copyright Office hosted a series of four AI
Listening Sessions on artificial intelligence. Due to introduction and outreach on behalf
of CAA, CAA Board Member, Karla Ortiz as well as CAA member, Matthew Cunningham were invited to participate in the session and made excellent and persuasive presentations. (

5. Prior to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s release of the SAFE Innovation
Initiative Framework on Artificial Intelligence, CAA’s lobbyist was invited to join a small
subset of IP industry advocates in DC to speak with Senator Schumers’s key senior staff leading the initiative. As a result of that meeting, CAA’s lobbyist was able to set up a private call for CAA’s team to meet virtually with Senator Schumer’s team to discuss the specific impact of generative AI on concept artists. At those meetings, creators urged the Majority Leader to protect creators as he and his colleagues look at all the vast aspects and impacts of AI on this country. Majority Leader Schumer and his co-chairman Senator Mike Rounds listened to our and other creators’ pleas and included specific protection for creators in the “Accountability” section of his five central policy objectives. It reads, “support our creators by addressing copyright concerns, protect intellectual property, and address liability.” This was a huge success for creators. We have stayed in close touch with the Schumer team and hope to be included in one of their future meetings. For more on this initiative:

6. As part of CAA’s first Washington, DC “Fly-In”, the Concept Art Association team, led by lobbyist Cindi Merifield, met with the following Congressional offices: Rep. Michael McCaul, House AI Caucus Co-Chairman; Rep. Don Beyer, leading AI expert; Rep. Ted Lieu, House Judiciary Member/House Science Committee Member; Chief IP Counsel, House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Darrell Issa; Senator Martin Heinrich, Senate AI Caucus Co-Chairman; Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and IP Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons (rescheduled for virtual meeting the following week.)

7. CAA’s lobbyist also set up a meeting for the CAA team with Shira Perlmutter, Register,
US Copyright Office (USCO) and her senior staff (including General Counsel, Chief of
Staff, Public Liaison and other key senior executives) to make a presentation on the
impact of generative AI on concept artists and to discuss potential remedies and ways
that the Copyright Office can protect creators.

8. The CAA Washington DC team attended (in person) the first House Judiciary Committee AI hearing entitled: Part I-Interoperability of AI and Copyright Law, and were able to meet and speak with Members of Congress, staff, witnesses, and other copyright industry stakeholders.

9. CAA’s DC Lobbyist hosted an IP Stakeholders meeting at a local restaurant on Capitol Hill for the CAA team to meet and form relationships with other creator and IP groups working toward Congressional action Generative AI on the creative community.

10. On the last evening of the “Fly-In”, CAA hosted an event, “Artists in Action,” in one of the House Congressional office buildings on Capitol Hill. Approximately 80 Members of
Congress, Congressional staff, and other Washington IP stakeholders observed artists
Karla Ortiz, Matthew Cunningham, and Steven Zapata showcase their work while
educating the Members and staff about the challenges concept artists face in the world
of generative AI. Rachel, Nicole, and CAA’s Lobbyist were able to speak to numerous
Members and staff and followed up after the event to answer questions and to grow the relationships.

11. Politico, the leading newspaper on Capitol Hill and throughout DC, covered CAA’s fly-in with this blurb: — The Concept Art Association, which represents artists working in entertainment, will wrap up a two-day fly-in with a demonstration from artists from the Avengers and Star Trek franchises. The fly-in, which coincides with a House hearing today on AI and copyright law, focused on discussions about preserving artists’ intellectual property online. IP lobbyist Cindi Merifield of R2P Strategies is coordinating the push.

12. CAA’s lobbyist set up an additional meeting with Rep. Ted Lieu’s office in advance of his introduction of legislation establishing an AI Commission. During that call and in follow-up, the CAA team gave the following suggestions to the Lieu office: 1) that AI companies not dominate the Commission in terms of seats; 2) that creators get a seat at the table, and 3) that IP rights must be respected. Rep. Lieu’s office listened to our suggestions and included language that limited the amount of seats of any industry could have on the Commission and required that the creative community be represented on the Commission.

13. As a result of meetings and conversations with IP Subcommittee Chairman Chris Coons, CAA Board Member, Karla Ortiz, was invited to be one of five panelists to testify before the Senate Intellectual Property Subcommittee at a hearing entitled, “Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property-Part II: Copyright.” Karla’s testimony and participation on the panel well-received by Members and staff and others in the intellectual property community.

14. At the request of CAA Board Member, Karla Ortiz, CAA’s lobbyist set up a virtual meeting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which has jurisdiction over unfair and deceptive trade practices and other competition and fairness issues in the marketplace, to discuss the dangers that generative AI poses to the creative community. CAA met with the Acting Director of Privacy and ID Protections and his team and had a robust and productive conversation.

15. The FTC later hosted a Roundtable including the three sitting FTC Commissioners,
entitled the “Creative Economy and Generative AI.” The FTC invited Karla Ortiz,
representing herself as a concept artist as well as Steven Zappatta, representing CAA, to participate on a panel with other outstanding creator groups and unions to discuss generative AI. Both Steven and Karla were extremely well-received and the event was deemed by many in Washington as one of the most productive AI discussions to date. More on the event:

16. We are working with CVL Economics to put together a report on the Early Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on the Creative Industries. The Animation Guild, National Cartoonist Foundation, and Human Artistry Campaign are all working with CAA to commission this research report for policymakers.

17. We hosted several virtual educational sessions for the community, including how to register your copyright, what is in your work-for-hire contract, negotiating your work-for-hire contract and a town hall with professional artists on how to mitigate anxiety as you embark upon your art career in these uncertain times.

18. We launched an Instagram account to provide more information and resources to the community, @aimlmediaadvocacy

And these are just the highlights! We should all be so proud of what we have been able to accomplish in D.C. This brings us right up to date with news on our second fly-in to D.C. in November. We are excited to build on all the relationships for our first visit in May as well as virtual meetings we have had since. We will be meeting with more Members of Congress and their staff, the US Copyright Office, the USPTO, the FTC, and others while in Washington.

We are very excited to share that CAA will be co-hosting an event with the Human Artistry Campaign during our visit to Washington D.C. and will showcase musical artists, concept artists, and visual development artists. The reception will draw hundreds of Members of Congress, Congressional staff, Administration officials, The US Copyright Office, The Patent Trademark Office, and the IP Community in DC. This will be a huge opportunity for CAA to reach another level of influence in Washington, one that usually takes many years, even decades to accomplish, if groups ever do reach the level.
And with that being said we really hope to continue this journey into 2024 and hope we have your support for year two. Here is our year two budget.

$187,500 for one year of a full-time lobbyist in D.C. (IP and Labor focus)
$24K Contractor hours for events and legislative pushes (Labor focus)
$5K Legal fees to respond to NOIs (and similar requests) from different government agencies.
$1600- two strategic press release placements to support the cause

$144 email
$216 website

*It costs roughly 10K for us to fly into DC for these meetings and throw an event. We want to budget for two events and a smaller labor-focused event in California.

Additional Needs
$10K gofundme service fees (we significantly undershot this last year)
12% Admin fee of Funds raised to Concept Art Association (staff, accounting, social media, virtual events, postcarding events, general operating) not to exceed 30K

$283,460 total ask (including gofundme service fees & CAA Admin fees)

Original gofundme request 12/2022

We are the Concept Art Association, an advocacy organization for artists working in entertainment. Our board member, Karla Ortiz, has been one of the leaders in our industry fighting back against the unethical practices happening in the AI text-to-image space. As an organization and as individuals we deeply care about this issue, not just for those actively working as visual artists, but for future generations of artists and for the preservation of our creative industries. But before we dive into our plan…

What are text-to-image AI/ML models?
A text-to-image model takes input from a user in the form of a natural language prompt and produces an image matching that prompt. To condition that capability the model needs to be trained on a huge collection of images, media, and text descriptions scraped from the web and collected in the form of a “dataset ” in order to extract and encode an intricate statistical survey of the dataset's items. Images are generated from an input prompt by assembling visual data that attempts to best simulate the statistical correlations between text in the dataset and images in the dataset in order to produce "acceptable" results.

Some of this data is the copyrighted work of artists and the private data of the public. As these models produce derivative works based on probability and statistics, they are prone to reproducing biases, stereotypes, and copyrighted works present within the datasets. Essentially, it could be described as “an advanced photo mixer” generating potential derivations based on statistical probability. **we are committed to an accurate description of the technology and the issues facing them, so we decided to update our language for a more detailed look at the issues. Read the original verbiage below**

What are these unethical practices?
Images and text descriptions across the internet are gathered and taken by a practice called data mining and/or data scraping. This technique allows AI/ML companies to build the massive datasets necessary to train these AI/ML models.

Stability AI funded the creation of the biggest and most utilized database called LAION 5B. The LAION 5B database, originally created on the pretext of “research” contains 5.8 billion text and image data, including copyrighted data and private data, gathered without artists, individuals, and businesses' knowledge or permission.

MidJourney, Stability AI, Prisma AI (Lensa AI) & other AI/ML companies are utilizing these research datasets that contain private and copyrighted data, for profit. They did so without any individual’s knowledge or consent, and certainly without compensation.

What do we plan to do about it?
Firstly, there are lots of things we all can do about it. Just because it's out in the world and happening doesn’t mean we can’t come together as a community and push back. We urgently want to take this conversation to D.C. and educate government officials and policymakers on the issues facing the creative industries if this technology is left unchecked. The speed at which this is moving means we also need to be moving quickly. Working alongside a lobbyist some potential solutions/asks would be:

  • Updating IP and data privacy laws to address this new technology
  • Updating laws to include careful and specific use cases for AI/ML technology in entertainment industries, i.e. ensuring no more than a small percentage of the creative workforce is AI/ML models or similar protections. Also update laws to ensure artists Intellectual Property is respected and protected with this new technologies.
  • Requiring AI companies to adhere to a strict code of ethics, as advocated by leading AI Ethics organizations.
  • Requiring AI companies to work alongside Creative Labor Unions, Industry coalitions, and Industry Groups to ensure fair and ethical use of their tools.
  • Governments hold Stability AI accountable for knowingly releasing irresponsible Open Source models with no protections to the public.

Getting to D.C.
We have had several conversations with lobbyist experts for creators' rights in D.C. and it's a long and expensive road. However, with the help of the community, we know we can do it and that it is worth fighting for. Below is a projected budget of what we will need for the first year of this fight:

$187,500 for one year of full-time lobbyist in D.C.
$40,000- Full-time Employee to coordinate and asset creation of all policy and PR needs of the movement
$10,700 federal and state payroll taxes for the employee

$144 email
$216 website

D.C. Educational Event for Legislators
$3,000 airfare
$1,000 accommodations
$200 costume models
$100 for fliers
$200 social media advertising
$3,000 food, drinks & rentals

Additional meetings in D.C.
$10,000 - flights, accommodation, and expenses.

Additional Needs
$3,000 Copyright Alliance membership
$3,000 Copyright Alliance scholarship for other artist advocacy orgs
$7,940 GoFundMe service fees

$270,000 total ask (including GoFundMe service fees)

So what next? The future of AI text-to-image models.

We are not anti-tech and we know this technology is here to stay one way or another but there are more ethical ways that these models can co-exist with visual artists. This is what we will be proposing these future models look like:
  • Ensure that all AI/ML models that specializes in visual works, audio works, film works, likenesses, etc. utilizes public domain content or legally purchased photo stock sets. This could potentially mean current companies shift, even destroy their current models, to the public domain.
  • Urgently remove all artist’s work from data sets and latent spaces, via algorithmic disgorgement. Immediately shift plans to public domain models, so Opt-in becomes the standard.
  • Opt-in programs for artists to offer payment (upfront sums and royalties) every time an artist’s work is utilized for a generation, including training data, deep learning, final image, final product, etc. AI companies offer true removal of their data within AI/ML models just in case licensing contracts are breached.
  • AI Companies pay all affected artists a sum per generation. This is to compensate/back pay artists for utilizing their works and names without permission, for as long as the company has been for profit.

Coming together as a community

Outside of this GoFundMe we want to nurture a grassroots movement and empower individuals and other artist orgs to speak up and mobilize. If you are not currently in a position to donate here is a list of things you can do for free:

  • Reach out to your local, state and federal politicians to push for updated IP and data privacy laws to address this new technology and to protect creative workers.
  • Call out irresponsible companies' unethical use of creators’ intellectual property and personal data when you see it.
  • Avoid using AI/ML models that use unethical datasets for now. You are literally feeding the beast!
  • Invest in or volunteer with advocacy organizations working toward change.
  • Send feedback or complaints to government agencies (like the U.S.’s FTC or EU Data Protection Agencies (DPAs) and make them hold irresponsible companies accountable.
  • Stay educated and informed, including sharing your education and knowledge with your peers.
  • Share our GoFundMe with everyone!
  • Stay motivated, and continue to create your art and share it with the world!

Learn more about what's been happening in the movement:
Concept Art Association Townhall 2: With the US Office of Copyright

Steven Zapata’s Video Essay:

Learn more about what's been happening in the movement:



  • Anat Fintzi
    • $10 
    • 7 d
  • Christopher Tokaz
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    • 1 mo
  • Jim Martin
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • Lin Mei
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Care Michaud-Wideman
    • $60 
    • 1 mo


Concept Art Association
Arcadia, CA

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