AI-Generated Content Can Put Developers at Risk
In recent events, the popular gaming platform, Steam, has taken a firm stance against AI-generated content that may infringe on copyright laws. Several developers have faced rejection and frustration as they attempted to publish games featuring AI-generated assets on the platform. This has sparked a debate in the gaming community about using AI technology and its potential legal implications.
The Reddit User’s Plight
It all began when Reddit user potterharry97 shared their painful experience with the Steam approval process. They had planned to submit a game containing assets created by AI. The intent was to refine these assets before the full launch, but Valve swiftly rejected the submission, citing potential copyright issues. The rejection came after the company discovered that some AI-generated assets might be based on copyrighted material. Valve clarified in their response that they required proper confirmation of owning the rights to the training data used for the AI before distributing the game.
The Developer’s Disappointment
In the wake of potterharry97’s experience, another developer using the pseudonym Artoonu also reported a similar ordeal on Reddit. This developer had previously released numerous NSFW visual novels on Steam successfully. However, when they attempted to use AI-generated art for a new game, the submission was rejected by Valve. The repeated rejections have left developers like Artoonu questioning the usefulness of AI technology in the creative process. They expressed that without the ability to utilize AI-generated assets commercially, the technology serves little purpose beyond being an idea/reference generator.
Oleg Skutte’s Encounter
Adding to the growing dissatisfaction, indie developer Oleg Skutte recounted his experience with Valve. Skutte recently released a physics simulation game called Locomotoric. But he faced the same issue when trying to publish a new AI-powered adventure game, DREAMIO. He used Stable Diffusion for illustrations and ChatGPT to generate the story. Yet his submission met with rejection from Steam.
Is AI Content Banned on Steam?
Despite these incidents, it is essential to clarify that Steam does not explicitly prohibit AI content. Steam’s guidelines expressly state that they do not allow specific types of content, such as hate speech, explicit images of real people, and exploitative material involving children. However, a crucial paragraph in the guidelines states that the platform does not permit content that lacks adequate rights for distribution or is not owned by the uploader.
Valve’s firm stance against copyright-infringing AI-generated content is a step towards safeguarding intellectual property rights. While AI technology presents innovative possibilities in the gaming industry, it raises concerns about copyright violations and misuse. Valve’s decision reflects its commitment to upholding creators’ rights and maintaining ethical standards on its platform.
The Way Forward
Developers must be mindful of copyright laws as the gaming industry evolves and adhere to ethical guidelines. For AI-generated content, verifying that the training data is free of copyright constraints is essential. This may require explicit permission from content creators or using openly available datasets.
Valve’s refusal to approve games featuring copyright-infringing AI artwork is a bold step towards protecting creative rights. While the rejection has sparked frustration among some developers, it highlights the importance of responsible AI usage and respecting intellectual property. As the gaming world embraces technological advancements, developers must adapt and ensure that their creative ventures comply with legal and ethical standards, providing a vibrant and sustainable gaming ecosystem.