Can You Use AI Art Commercially?

Written by Adam Morris

Updated August 4, 2023
Woman facing wall of pictures

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is becoming increasingly more accessible, resulting in an increase of those interested in its creative possibilities such as writing blog content for your website and even writing books. But with AI art, there are questions about whether this type of work can be used commercially.

Technology has allowed us to create impressive works of art using the combination of human and machine innovation. From businesses seeking artwork for advertisements to individuals wanting AI-driven custom pieces, many people are using—or considering using—the power of AI in their artwork.

However, understanding intellectual property laws when it comes to AI art can be complex. In this article, we’ll investigate the legalities involved in using AI art commercially and what creators should be aware of before venturing into this territory.

What is AI-Generated Art?

AI-generated art is an exciting and burgeoning field of creativity. It is seen as a way to explore and reflect on the boundaries between nature and technology, humanity and machine. AI-generated art allows creators to produce images, sculptures, and other artwork that would not have been possible with traditional artwork unless intense labour was involved.

Woman face with colorful paint in 3D on dark background

Using algorithms to generate images or sculptures, AI-generated art has become a hot topic in the world of contemporary art and many artists are eager to explore this new approach to their craft. The results are often unpredictable due to its complexity and some might argue that there is an objective type of beauty in this kind of “unbiased” artwork which requires no artistic skill or interpretation from humans.

On the other hand, some viewers reject such creations because they lack the tangible touchpoints found in human-made artworks like originality or spontaneity – two qualities that could never be achieved by relying solely on technology.

One thing is for sure though: AI-generated art challenges existing notions of what we associate with art, prompts reflection on our relationship with technology and ultimately invites us to discover various forms of creativity that were previously impossible.

Selling AI-Generated Art

When it comes to creating art, AI tools can be a powerful tool in unlocking innovative and exciting artworks. Thanks to the advancements in artificial intelligence, developing AI-generated artwork has become much easier than ever before. But can you use these works to make money? Can you sell AI-generated art?

Can You Sell AI-Generated Art?

Firstly, if someone creates artwork using AI as a tool, they should own the rights to it. Being the artist who put in the creative work, they have every right to sell their work whether it was made with or without AI assistance.

If you are an artist who creates artwork using AI technology, you have the legal right to sell it either on the internet or elsewhere.

However, if someone attempts to resell or copy an AI generated artwork that belongs to another artist without obtaining prior permission from the artist or without due credit given where due, this will undoubtedly be considered an infringement of their copyright law and could result in legal ramifications being taken against them. Therefore, when selling any AI generated artwork one must make sure that proper permissions are obtained from all relevant parties involved.

Are AI-generated Images Copyright Free?

AI-generated images are incredibly useful in many applications, from video games to feature films. Unfortunately, their copyright status is sometimes unclear.

Copyright icon in black inside magnifying glass on yellow background

In the United States, AI-generated images are generally copyright free due to a combination of copyright law and policy decisions by various federal courts. The US Copyright Office has held that works created by machines are not eligible for copyright protection–even if a human had directed an AI system to generate the work through algorithms and instructions.

This means that any image generated by a machine without direct involvement from humans may be used freely without infringing on anyone’s copyrights.

However, this does not mean that AI-generated images are completely free from all claims or disputes over ownership and usage rights. Even though US law does not allow for protection of AI-generated imagery under copyright law, other laws such as trade secret or patent law may apply to certain situations.

Additionally, while works generated entirely by a computer are likely to be excluded from protection under US copyright law, some courts have ruled that works created with both human input and automated processes could be protected. It appears that computer-assisted systems need to be considered on an individual basis based on the circumstances.

Can I Use AI-generated Art for Commercial Purposes?

The use of AI-generated art in commercial contexts can be favorable to both artists and businesses, offering a way to create distinct visuals. After all, Artificial Intelligence algorithms are capable of producing works which look impressive with little effort. However, before doing so it is important to check whether the particular AI-generator in use allows such usage.

Woman sitting on couch smiling holding tablet in living room

One popular example is OpenAI’s DALL·E algorithm. Previously, OpenAI did not permit the use or redistribution of any images generated from DALL·E for commercial purposes. Good news though; in their July 2022 update, OpenAI announced that their newly released beta version allows users full usage rights to generate and commercialize their images, including reprinting, selling and manufacturing merchandise with them.

This includes all images created during the research preview period as well. With this update, OpenAI has opened up many possibilities for businesses to improve their visual communications and marketing strategies with high quality AI-artifacts!

Can You Sell AI-generated Art As NFTs?

The popularity of AI art is increasing as technology facilitates the production of digital art works. Due to its popularity, companies now offer solutions for creators to make money from their work, such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

NFTs are a type of non-interchangeable digital ledgers which enable authors to create and sell their artwork in digital form. Companies such as Eponym have created text-to-image AI software so that anyone can quickly put together unique art pieces and then sell them on OpenSea’s NFT marketplace.

The process of selling AI-generated art may be difficult for some due to its complexity and intricacies. However, platforms like Simplified AI make it easier by providing various tools and features for artists to create one-of-a-kind graphics designs.

Simplified AI simplifies the creation process by providing preloaded templates upon which users can build their artwork from scratch, as well as access to a wide range of images from public domain sources. With these resources, artists can easily create stunning masterpieces that they can proudly showcase and eventually even get paid for through the sale of their artwork on OpenSea’s NFT marketplace.

Laws Surrounding AI Image Generators

As the use of text-to-image generators such as DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney are becoming increasingly popular, questions have arisen regarding the copyrighting of images generated by these AI models. To generate images based on a text prompt, these models must be trained using a large set of high quality images.

AI robot holding brush in front of paint on easel

For example, OpenAI has said that its DALL-E 2 is trained using approximately 650 million images from a mix of both publicly available sources and copyrighted sources they have licensed. While OpenAI claims they have taken measures to prevent any copyright issues from occurring, questions still remain as to how much licensed material in part of the dataset used to train their models.

If someone were to use a text-to-image generator such as DALL-E for either commercial or noncommercial purposes, it would be important for them to make sure their outputs are free from any copyrighted content.

Currently, most text-to-image generators do not enforce copyright protection resulting in the potential for users to create infringing images unwittingly. Careful consideration should therefore taken when selecting which datasets these models can access so that users remain confident no copyrighted material will be included in an output image.

Lack of fair use

The lack of clear regulations regarding AI and fair use has caused confusion among copyright owners when it comes to protecting their artwork. This is because while traditional “transformative” use of protected works may be acceptable, qualifying AI product as such can be much more subjective.

For example, Bradley J Hulbert notes that artwork resembling a “protected work” needs to be “transformative” for it to not constitute a copyright infringement. However, Mark Lemley and Bryan Casey from Stanford Law School state that there isn’t any legal precedent in the US securing publicly accessible training data as fair use. This means that both copyright owners and creators are limited with the protection they can get for their work if AI is involved in its production.

Hand holding phone with artworks on sale on screen

The potential risks associated with this have caused companies operating within the tech industry to protect themselves through varied ways — including contract law and implementing policies to limit certain types of activities involving copyright works.

Until regulations become clearer, companies may also want to look into adopting automated solutions such as image recognition software in order to protect their intellectual property rights as best as possible.

Lack of ownership or legal support

The current lack of legal support for AI-generated images has the potential to create a great deal of legal confusion in our rapidly advancing digital age. This issue arises when people are unaware of who holds the rights to the generated images, as well as what their exact uses can be.

For example, OpenAI states that users can lose the rights to use DALL-E generations if they breach the company’s terms or content policy. Furthermore, companies such as Stable Diffusion and Midjourney imply that ownership lies with them regardless of how images were used for commercial purposes.

This lack of ownership and legal support leaves many image creators in a precarious situation that isn’t easy to navigate. Without greater understanding and clarity on who holds the rights to AI models, this could cause frustrations among those creating or using such images, ultimately resulting in a decrease in usage or trust with these technologies.

Therefore, it is essential that organizations develop more established policies regarding intellectual property rights and other legal concerns associated with AI models, so that everyone is aware of what their rights are when it comes to using generated images.

AI-Art Generator Tools

Can you sell your AI-generated art? Absolutely! Whether you’d like to call it computer generated art, AI-generated art, or generative artwork – with the right tools and licenses, it’s fully possible.

Woman in front of computer making digital art

Obviously, you still need to consider copyright laws and take into account the license of any automated tool (or other resources) used in generating your artwork. Luckily, there are a handful of popular AI-art generator tools that specifically allow commercial use.

These include Adobe Fresco and AutoDraw for drawing; Runway for deep learning models; and MemoPlay for photo editing. All of these tools have fair terms of service listed on their websites that permit commercial use without any legal issues. Therefore, if you comply with the rules set out by the generator tools, you can sell your AI-artwork without any hesitation!


Artbreeder is a popular, user-friendly platform providing users with a fast and simple way to create images. It allows people to transform images and generates new ones through the use of artificial intelligence. Artbreeder has clear terms of use that enable commercial uses of their tools and images.

Artbreeder AI image generator homepage

Images generated from Artbreeder are considered public domain under Creative Commons Zero, or CC0 copyright which permits commercial usage without any prior permission or payment. A citation to the Artbreeder URL for an image that is heavily inspired by one created on the platform is strongly recommended when possible.

Artbreeder’s expansive library offers endless possibilities in creating visuals for all sorts of applications from intricate portraits to detailed landscapes. Business owners can make the most out of this open source software as it gives them access to high-level quality art for their projects at no cost.

Its easy-to-use interface also makes it enjoyable for all kinds of users whether they are designers or professionals with limited artistic skills as its features generate near perfect work instantly with minimal effort involved. The wide variety of options available means that almost any kind of image desired can be found or easily made within minutes.


The NightCafe website is a resource for those seeking to bring their creative vision to life. Its frequently asked question section, titled “Does the license allow me to sell my creations or use them for commercial purposes?”, provides an important answer that any aspiring creator should consider- Yes, provided you didn’t use any copyrighted images in the creation process and are subject to the copyright laws in your jurisdiction.

NightCafe AI art generator homepage

If creators develop original content, they may have the option to produce and market it, as long as there are no copyrighted works involved. Having knowledge of copyright laws is beneficial for creators who are concerned about potential infringement lawsuits. However, this does not exempt them from possible lawsuits over their own creative product due to intellectual property laws in their country.

It is essential that creators consistently research laws governing creativity before attempting any kind of subscription service or sales outlet. By adhering to these regulations while also protecting their own unique artwork, they can ensure a better future in designing successful products free from fear of legal repercussions.


Starryai is an online platform that allows users to create artwork using some of the world’s most iconic stars. Through their intuitive and user-friendly interface, anyone can make stunning art pieces with ease right on their website. One great feature that Starryai offers is answers to frequently asked questions their customers may have. This includes a question about whether or not they can use the artwork they created commercially.

StarryAI art generator homepage

Starryai addresses this concern by confirming that, yes, users can use creations for commercial purposes as long as all of the assets used in creating the masterpiece are free for them to do so. This means that any copyrighted images must be used by permission only, unless there is written consent from the photo’s copyright holder allowing for otherwise unrestricted use.

Ultimately, Starryai puts the copyright ownership into the hands of each user who creates art through its platform giving many people more creative license than ever before!


DALL-E is an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by OpenAI to create images based on text descriptions. This AI platform has received a lot of attention due to its capability to generate vivid, realistic images with almost human-like detail. So far, it has generated over 12 million unique images and is capable of being trained further.

Dall-e text to image AI generator homepage

When it comes to commercial usage of the images created by DALL-E, the right to reprint, sell and merchandise them is allowed. Such commercial activities are subject to certain terms that restrict how it can be used in digital form or in printed products without prior authorization from OpenAI. For instance, the use of such images requires proper attribution and copyright notices when using them for ad campaigns or other promotional activities.

In addition, resizing or altering these images requires permission from OpenAI too. All in all, there are numerous benefits available by using DALL-E as well as restrictions which should be considered for any commercial usage of generated images created with this AI platform.


Midjourney is a web application that allows users to generate high-quality images and videos with ease. Whether you’re a designer, content creator, or social media manager, Midjourney is the perfect tool to help you create stunning visuals quickly and efficiently.

Those who opt to use the free or trial accounts of Midjourney are allowed to utilize any of the generated images and videos for personal reasons exclusively; however, they must always credit Midjourney whenever they do so. Financial profiting off these pictures through resale or other methods isn’t permissible unless proper authorization has been acquired from the company itself.

Despite this limitation, Midjourney still offers vast possibilities due to its number of customization options available for your convenience. It’s important to read and understand the terms of service carefully before using it in order to make sure that we abide by their rules and regulations

Users should be aware that Midjourney’s terms and conditions can be modified at any time, so they should stay informed of any changes.

Also see: Why Can’t AI Draw Hands?


Everyone should be aware of the legal risks associated with using copyrighted images without permission. Whether you’re using AI-generators, style transfer tools, or any other form of software to create and use images, it’s important to be mindful of copyright law. Unauthorized use of artwork can have repercussions, ranging from financial losses to criminal charges.

It’s not just professional artists either; all content created by individual people are subject to copyright law. Even if you are creating or distributing non-commercial artwork on social media networks such as Instagram or Twitter, which have strict regulations concerning these activities, you could find yourself in legal trouble.

Therefore, it’s crucial that due diligence is taken at all times when using someone else’s artwork or intellectual property because the consequences from unauthorized use can be far reaching. Always seek permission from the creator before using their work for any purpose whatsoever.

Adam is a crypto expert & AI enthusiast who has been researching and writing on the topics since 2017.

He’s spoken on numerous podcasts and has been featured in many prominent media publications such as Forbes, CNN & CNBC.