Most of the time when AI art generators are heralded by game studios and publishers, one of the first questions people begin to ask is where its getting its data from, and very frequently the answer is by stealing others’ artwork without permission in order to have a library to create imagery. It’s that copyright issue that has seen Valve stealthily remove games from Steam that use AI art generation, and it’s that stance that the company has clarified in an official statement.
“We are continuing to learn about AI, the ways it can be used in game development, and how to factor it in to our process for reviewing games submitted for distribution on Steam. […] The introduction of AI can sometimes make it harder to show a developer has sufficient rights in using AI to create assets, including images, text, and music.
“While developers can use these AI technologies in their work with appropriate commercial licenses, they cannot infringe on existing copyrights.”
The statement additionally says that Valve’s goal is not to discourage the use of AI tools, and even welcomes the evolution of the tech, but the law has otherwise tied its hands. “Stated plainly, our review process is a reflection of current copyright law and policies, not an added layer of our opinion. As these laws and policies evolve over time, so will our process,” reads the statement.