The already-contentious relationship between AI and the creative industry might soon get even more complicated thanks to a free-to-use service that can completely remove watermarks from images. Watermark Remover.io (as seen via Creative Bloq) is a tool offered by Pixelbin.io that removes identifiable watermarks with a single click and has sparked conversations surrounding copyright protections since being listed on Product Hunt last year.
The functionality of Watermark Remover.io isn’t new — similar tools already exist, and you can also remove watermarks using things like Adobe Photoshop’s content-aware fill.
The tool is particularly interesting in the context of AI’s disruptive effect on the creative industries — including stock image companies that rely on watermarks to protect their content. Stock image giant Shutterstock recently introduced its own text-to-image generator based on OpenAI’s DALL-E 2, and Adobe Stock has also welcomed the technology by accepting AI-generated content for sale on its platform. This is despite criticism from creatives that their content is often scraped from the web without compensation or consent to train these same systems.
Platforms like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock apply large watermarks to their content to prevent the images from being used without permission. These companies may be content with AI while it generates cash for them, but they likely won’t be so keen on it being used to steal their assets. And Watermark Remover.io enabled us to (theoretically) do that very, very easily.