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Why You Should Poison Your Art to Fight AI

Why You Should Poison Your Art to Fight A.I.

Have you asked yourself lately if you should poison your art to fight A.I.? You’ve heard the stories of bots scraping websites of artists, and then using that artwork to create images for other people using DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. Nobody asked you, nobody paid you, and nobody credited you. This is the frustration many creatives are facing or have fears about. It’s a brave new world with A.I. providing a new vehicle for creative inspiration.

You Can’t Put the Genie Back in the Bottle

From billion-dollar video game companies to solo visual artists, the impact of A.I. cannot be ignored. A.I. presents opportunities, but also serious concerns, and the only thing we know is that this genie will never be put back in the bottle. Society has embraced the promises of tools and tricks to help artistic civilians and creative laymen create their own stunning work with the stroke of a few keys (and the right prompt). Hate it or love it, it won’t go away. The wise among us are adapting, learning, and seeking out high-tech ways to protect their creative intellectual property.

The Blessing and the Curse

If you are in the video game world or enjoy fantasy art that depicts medieval landscapes with dragons and warriors, you have probably encountered artwork by Greg Rutkowski. He is popular for good reason, but that popularity translates into surprising problems. Due to his success and popularity, his name is used for A.I. image prompts more than 90,000/ month. To give you perspective, people may use names like Picasso, or Michelangelo for only 2,000/month. The good news is people love his work, but the bad news is people are able to imitate and create works of art that search engines think are his, but aren’t. The line between copying, stealing, forgery and fan art has been hard to delineate.

Be Shrewd as Serpents

This problem may seem ominous but don’t give in to fear. Why? We have not been given a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7) So we need to be proactive. Jesus called us to be innocent as doves, but not stupid, not naïve, or passive. Jesus expects us to use the brain, the wisdom, and the strategic thinking He implanted within our amazing minds. If we overemphasize the call to be kind, and gracious, and “turn the other cheek,” we ignore the dangers at our own peril and foolishness. One verse I think too many Christian creatives (and non-creatives for that matter) forget is in Matthew 10:16.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

-Jesus, Gospel of Matthew 10:16 (NIV)

Let’s discover some ways we can protect our intellectual property:

Tools and Strategies

1) Poison Your Art with Nightshade

Nightshade is a new service artists can use to “poison” your art before it is scraped and repurposed by A.I. image-generating AI models, such as DALL-E, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and countless others to come. By using a service like Nightshade, Your artwork will look normal to the naked eye, to your fans, patrons and potential buyers. But beneath that image, Nightshade embeds a sort of digital “poison” to your art so that it corrupts the outputs of A.I. engines. This renders the images useless for A.I. image generators. What does it do, you may ask? Well, dogs become cats, cars become cows, and so forth.


(source: techspot.com)

2) Copyright your work

Standard protections should always be utilized. Copyrighting your work, submitting a screenplay to the WGA, etc. You can start HERE

3) Watermarking

Watermarking is another basic tool to make your visual art visible, but unusable until the patron/client purchases the work. In the simplest form, it is a word typed over a work of art that has a watery aesthetic. This enables you to see the work, but not be able to copy, or print it.


Don’t wait to see what A.I. Image generators, music generators, and other artificial intelligence applications can do. Take time to research the inherent advantages and perils to artists in your field and get proactive. And remember the call to be shrewd as serpents. We are not called to be evil like the serpent in the garden of Eden, but we are called to be shrewd in how we run our business as artists. If that is a new concept for you, you should check out our Catalyst Program so you can learn to be the artist and entrepreneur God created you to be.


I would love to hear from you:

What other resources have you found to protect your creative works?

What A.I. do you use in your creative process?

What other topics about A.I. would you like us to write about or shoot a video for?

Let us know in the comments below!


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Copyright © 2024 Joel & Michelle Pelsue. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.



4 comments on “Why You Should Poison Your Art to Fight AI”

  1. Ric Reply

    Thank you for this article, I had no idea it was possible to poison your own artwork but I’m glad to learn this before I start publishing anything!

    One thing I’ve debated with others and seen others debate is whether AI generated visuals count as “art”? If God gave creative minds to man, not to machines, but then creative man makes machines to automate visual images, is this still a form of creating in God’s image? Would love for you to cover this topic, God bless

    • Joel Pelsue Reply


      Thank you so much for taking time to comment.
      I would be happy to address that. I see A.I. as a tool. It needs the input of men and women made in the image of God, and it needs our direction in how to create new images. So it is just a tool. Our friends in the Video Game world are using A.I. to save time creating backgrounds, props, etc. But the fine touches still need a human.

      If we do count A.I. created images as art, we will have to distinguish in the future between man-made, and artificially-made art, because I believe most people still see art as a form of communication…and we want communication with a human. Why? Because we want to know people and to be known. A.I. can’t do that.
      That’s my quick response, I’ll think about doing a video or blog on that too..

  2. Dana Reply

    Thank you for this message. I have no idea how to protect my voice except making it so colorful with various subtleties that at this time it might be hard for AI to capture all my nuances (it may capture a certain quality, like the way I sing a high note, but will it also capture the inflections? the growl or whisper etc) It’s like singers in “tribute” bands… they may have one quality that sounds like the original singer they’re impersonating, but Ive never seen one that sounds just like or better or has the “soul and persona” of the original singer. Nonetheless, most audiences dont care as long as its “close” 🙁

    Anyway, I plan to use AI to remove vocals from my recorded tracks so I can sing along live to my track . I recently applied for a grant and was given the option to use AI to answer each question or do it myself. The answers were then rated. One time I used AI to answer 1 question and it did a good job. I beleie the Org can find out if AI was used and hope they consider that. After that, I preferred to write my own answers and to be honest, I prefer to challenge myself as a writer to get the good rating. I had to work on it harder and rewrite answers many times, but finally ended up with good ratings. I hope in the end I will gain more respect form the organization for not using AI. Anyone can sound stellar on paper using AI, but we all know it’s harder to use the intellect. However, with that said, people today are inherently lazy and I would guess most use the AI otpion just cos its easier and faster. sigh.

    • Joel Pelsue Reply


      You are right in the thick of this.
      Here is an interesting article I was just reading about musicians and A.I.

      It is a huge concern.
      I presume the more character and complexity the singers voice has, the harder to mimic. Just like synthesizers could never imitate a real saxophone because each note has unique overtones and timbres. They eventually had to sample each note separately.

      But A.I. is “learning” at such a pace, who knows.
      I believe people will want something authentically human eventually, after the novelty wears off, and we will have “authentically created by a human” types of certificates for the true fans and audiophiles.

      It is like an entire brave new world.


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