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Image-scraping Midjourney bans rival AI firm for scraping images

Enlarge / A burglar with a flashlight and papers in a business office—exactly like scraping files from Discord. (credit: Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Midjourney banned all employees from image synthesis rival Stability AI from its service indefinitely after it detected “botnet-like” activity suspected to be a Stability employee attempting to scrape prompt and image pairs in bulk. Midjourney advocate Nick St. Pierre tweeted about the announcement, which came via Midjourney’s official Discord channel.

Prompts are the written instructions (like “a cat in a car holding a can of a beer”) used by generative AI models such as Midjourney and Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion 3 (SD3) to synthesize images. Having prompt and image pairs could potentially help the training or fine-tuning of a rival AI image generator model.

Bot activity that took place around midnight on March 2 caused a 24-hour outage for the commercial image generator service. Midjourney linked several paid accounts with a Stability AI data team employee trying to “grab prompt and image pairs.” Midjourney then made a decision to ban all Stability AI employees from the service indefinitely. It also indicated a new policy: “aggressive automation or taking down the service results in banning all employees of the responsible company.”

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