Adobe starts paying bonuses to Stock contributors whose content is being used to train Firefly

Now that Adobe's Firefly generative AI models are generally available. One feature that always made Firefly stand out from a crowd of other image generation models was that the company only trained it on content that was either in the public domain or that it had rights to through Adobe Stock, its stock image service. But since day one, there were questions about how (and if) it would pay the photographers and illustrators whose content it used to train Firefly. They, after all, stand to lose quite a bit of business if Adobe's users opt to simply use Firefly to generate unique images instead of downloading existing stock photos.

As the company announced today, all eligible Adobe Stock contributors with photos, vectors or illustrations in the standard and premium Stock collections will receive a bonus, which it plans to pay out annually going forward. This first bonus will cover the time between June 2, 2022 and June 3, 2023, which covers the data set the company used to train Firefly.

Image Credits: Adobe Firefly

It's virtually impossible to know how often an image was used to create a new image in Firefly. That means the company has to use some kind of proxy. As Alexandru Costin, Adobe's VP for Generative AI and Sensei, explained, the company is using a pretty straightforward formula to do so. "The formula we have is a mix of the total number of assets they have in the training dataset and the number of assets licensed -- so basically the popularity or the commercial success of their assets, which we take as a proxy of the value of their assets through the lens of the marketplace."

Sadly, Adobe would not provide us with any range estimates or even provide the total amount it had set away for the bonuses. A spokesperson noted that the actual bonus depends strongly on the individual contributor, the volume of content they have in Stock and how it's being used, making it difficult to provide an average. Adobe did promise to provide more info about the overall size of the pool once it has more details to share.