Hi all! I'm Dean Bigbee, Director of Operations at Roll20. Many of you in the Creator Community likely know me from our previous work together back when I was the Director of Licensing. The past weeks have been chock full of conversations about AI-generated art, both at Roll20 and within the publishing community. Thank you to the many partners who have reached out to discuss their needs and concerns. Roll20 and DriveThru marketplaces facilitate many thousands of artists, writers, and publishers in the TTRPG industry. Our primary goal as a marketplace is to make publishing accessible to as many people as possible. Each creator has unique needs, and they alone know what’s best for them to achieve their goals. We don’t step into these conversations lightly. As such, I’d like to take some time to give context around our thinking and decision-making, especially as our policies continue to evolve. Frankness and transparency are critical for maturing any conversation across the industry. Our Approach As a technology based company, we intimately understand that stopping technology is impossible. AI-generated art is here to stay. The challenge with any new technology is finding ways to approach it that empowers communities. We’ve seen positive outcomes with other tools previously -- for example, map generators evolved from a controversial new tech to a popular tool that helps many artists spend less time aligning walls, and more time making those walls look awesome. However, we also recognize the incredibly unique and disruptive potential of AI-generated art, and take those conversations seriously. When debating new tools, we often ask ourselves some values-based questions across multiple cohorts. Here are a few anchors we rely on: Does the tool make creating and playing games more (or less) accessible to more people? Does the tool inject (or undermine) value to the creator and customer experience? Does the tool empower (or disempower) creators and customers? AI-generated art performs well on points 1 and 2, especially for GMs and adventure builders looking for additional options to represent themselves and their ideas. However, point 2 reveals serious risk for visual artists -- AI art generators have the potential to be immediately disruptive to an artist economy that has had little time to adapt or respond. Point 3 also gives us pause. We are bothered by the unresolved questions around the sourcing techniques used by popular AI art generators. Additionally, there is no legal precedent to guide us, and no wider industry standard to consider. We are incredibly grateful to all of the artists and partners that choose to work with us. Due to our concerns about how they may be affected by this technology, we are amending our Roll20 and DriveThru Marketplace policies, effective immediately. Amended Interim Policy This new Interim AI-Generated Art Policy replaces all previous Third-Party and AI-Generated Tool policies. Roll20 defines "AI-generated art" as images created through the use of artificial intelligence algorithms and techniques trained on pre-existing data sets. Roll20 Marketplace At this time, the Roll20 Marketplace does not accept any product that utilizes AI-generated art. DriveThru Marketplaces, including Community Content Programs and Supported Marketplaces At this time, DriveThru Marketplaces do not accept standalone artwork products that utilize AI-generated art. At this time, DriveThru Marketplaces require publishers to set their own AI-generated artwork policies on Game, Rulebook and Adventure products. Any products that utilize AI-generated artwork must be tagged as such. This policy places an indefinite pause on most submissions that contain AI-generated artwork. As for the allowances given, we will be working with publishers to build greater consensus on the best paths forward. Simply put, there are so many publishers and creator programs with their own external policies and diverse print and PDF needs, that this conversation requires greater collaboration efforts. This does not signal an end to that discussion, but a beginning. We have already begun outreach to our DriveThru Marketplace partners to consider their own policies, and will continue to follow up. With all that said, we’d like to be very frank about what these decisions mean. Enforcement Policing artwork is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks in this sector. There is no mechanism for determining what is AI-generated versus what is human-made. It can be virtually impossible to determine what is an homage versus what is theft even among human artists. We’ve already seen a marked increase in reports since we launched our interim AI policy, and these investigations increasingly consume the working hours of our support personnel who would normally be assisting creators. Further, many of the reports we receive do not meet the high bar of proof we require to feel confident in taking action. As such, we will be updating the reporting methods by which individuals can report plagiarized or misappropriated artwork: a reporter will be asked to provide a direct comparison of assets that shows clear proof of infringement or a breach of our policy, and to offer as much contextual information as possible. Types of AI Art Generators Our amended policy is intended to address AI art generators as they exist now, at the time of this writing. We’d like to leave space to encourage AI art generators to come to market with clearly defined, opt-in sourcing parameters. Such technology would be a great resource to these conversations. Legacy Products Containing AI-Generated Art There are a small number of publishers on Roll20 and DriveThru Marketplaces who’ve already released content containing AI-generated artwork. Since they published in accordance with our policy at the time and have clearly labeled their products, we do not wish to disrupt their product line as a result of our changes. This group is so small that we don’t believe it impacts the greater goal and conversations. Encouraging Human-Generated Art for Small Press We will also begin working with artists to encourage the creation of a greater selection of affordable, commercial-use art assets. Small press is always struggling for market share against large publishers with generous art budgets. We’d like to see small press publishers have more access to art that fits their catalog. Next Steps In the coming weeks, we will reach out to a selection of publishers, community content owners, creators, digital toolset makers, and GMs. Our goal is to create a small working group where we can engage constructively on the topic of AI-generated artwork to advance the conversation within the TTRPG industry, with all perspectives represented. As this conversation evolves, we will revisit these policies. To Conclude This is a complex and rapidly evolving conversation. We believe that policies limiting AI-generated art will over time prove unsustainable. However, we stand by the artists and creators who built this industry. Until we feel more confident that all parties are prepared, empowered and have generally aligned around a precedent, we must adjust our stance to support all of our partners as equally as possible.