AI news
July 6, 2024

Stability AI's July 2024 License Update

Stability AI finally addressed its absurd licensing. Will it be enough to regain trust from the community?

Jim Clyde Monge
Jim Clyde Monge

Stability AI, the company behind the popular open-source image model Stable Diffusion, has responded to the community’s concerns about its licensing terms.

Three weeks ago, they released the Stable Diffusion 3 model with 2 billion parameters (SD3 Medium), which faced criticism for its confusing license and obvious performance issues.

Even the popular AI model-sharing platform Civit AI has temporarily banned SD3 Medium while clearing matters with Stability AI.

Today, Stability AI released an update to the licensing to address these concerns.

Stability AI’s Discord post
We acknowledge that our latest release, SD3 Medium, didn’t meet our community’s high expectations. We heard you and have made improvements to address your concerns and to continue to support the open source community.

What’s Changed in the License?

The updated license is now more permissive, expanding the scope of permitted use significantly compared to its predecessor. Key changes include:

  • Free Use: The new Stability AI Community License expands the scope of permitted use significantly compared to its predecessor. It’s free for non-commercial and small business use.
  • Commercial Use: Commercial use is now allowed for entities generating less than $1 million in annual revenue.
  • Limit to the number of images: The license removes restrictions on the number of media files that can be created and introduces a self-reporting requirement for commercial users.
  • Self-Reporting: Commercial users below the revenue threshold must self-report.

These changes reflect a shift towards a more comprehensive and flexible licensing approach, balancing open access with commercial considerations.

You can read more details about what’s changed in the licensing terms in the official blog post.

Comparing the Old and New Licensing

Scope of Use

  • Old: Limited to non-commercial research purposes
  • New: Expanded to include both research & non-commercial use, as well as limited commercial use

Commercial Use

  • Old: Not allowed
  • New: Allowed for entities generating less than $1,000,000 in annual revenue

Registration Requirement

  • Old: Not mentioned
  • New: Commercial users must register with Stability AI

Revenue Threshold

  • Old: Not applicable
  • New: License terminates if user or affiliates generate over $1,000,000 in annual revenue

Intellectual Property

  • Old: Basic provisions
  • New: More detailed, including ownership of outputs and feedback license

Addressing Image Quality Issues

In addition to licensing issues, Stability AI acknowledges the poor quality of SD3 2B. Users noticed significant degradation in quality, such as prompts where the subject lies on the grass.

Before we released SD3 Medium, our initial testing indicated that it was, in most cases, a much better base model compared to SDXL, in terms of prompt adherence, diversity, detail, and overall quality. However, the community quickly identified some critical quality issues mainly related to body poses and words that were too rarely seen in the training set.

Stability AI is now working to improve these key areas.

  • They plan to release a significantly improved version of SD3 Medium in the coming weeks.
  • Stability AI is actively researching the best ways to utilize this new architecture and model. As they gather insights and fine-tune the model, we will share our findings along with contributions from the community.

Final Thoughts

Despite the clearer and more positive licensing, the problem with degrade in performance remains. A new version of SD3 Medium is already in the works. Hopefully, when the updated model comes out, this whole fiasco is still salvageable.

Also, in the past several weeks Stability AI has already burned a bunch of goodwill in the community. Will the clarifications and acknowledgment of the poor quality be enough to bring back the trust?

For now, it’s best to remain skeptical and wait for the release of the updated model. I expect the 8B model to be way better than the 2B.

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