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Kickstarter rival Backerkit says no to AI art

Crowdfunding site BackerKit will restrict AI art on the platform until artists can be compensated and asked for permission, a blogpost explains.

Backerkit logo

BackerKit has devised a policy to restrict the use of AI art on the crowdfunding platform. A blogpost published on October 2 stated that “all content and assets must first be created by humans.” According to the new rule, which goes into effect on October 4, content must meet a “minimum requirement of human input” to appear on BackerKit, and if a project violates the policy it may be removed. “It’s important for us to recognize both the immediate and long-term adverse effects [AI art] may pose to the creators and creative communities we serve,” explains the post.

The use of AI art has become a hugely controversial subject in the past six months or so, with many fearing what its widespread adoption would mean for the tabletop RPG and board game industries, and the artists working within them. Because of this, and ethical concerns about how AI art is created, there’s now strong pressure from fans and creators to curtail its use.

Backerkit example of banned AI art

Many publishers have made commitments similar to BackerKit in recent months. Wizards of the Coast, for instance, promised new policies to keep AI art out of DnD books, after it showed up in Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. Its rival, Pathfinder publisher Paizo, has also condemned the use of AI. But the controversy still rages, and it seems like every week someone new comes under fire as it emerges they’ve used the technology.

Recently, for instance, FryxGames – maker of the strategy board game Terraforming Mars – was widely criticized, when AI art appeared in its latest Kickstarter, which raised over $2 million. And on October 2, BoardGameWire revealed that upcoming board game fair Essen Spiel had used AI art on its tickets, posters, and mobile app.

Backerkit example of permitted AI art

According to BackerKit’s new rule, content that’s enhanced by AI, using AI-assisted tools like ‘generative content fill’ or ‘video tracking technology’ will be unaffected. (So the image above would be permitted, for instance.) On the other hand, if a project features content that’s primarily generated by AI, it may be denied at the review stage or suspended during the crowdfunding process.

BackerKit says it’s concerned about how AI tools work and wants to “ensure creators are fairly rewarded for their hard work and creativity”.

“We’ll continue to limit their use on our platform until there is a system that can guarantee fairness in sourcing, permission, and compensation,” the blogpost explains.

Another part of its new AI policy, BackerKit will automatically hide content on the website from AI-training data scrapers: you’ll have to opt in if you want your content to be used for AI training.

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Having only launched as a crowdfunding platform in 2023, BackerKit is still quite young, and far smaller than established crowdfunding giant Kickstarter. Still, earlier this year it saw a massively successful project, with the exclusive fundraiser for the Gloomhaven reboot, which raised over $5 million. A few months back, we spoke to Gloomhaven designer Isaac Childes about why AI art feels like theft.

For more tabletop content, check out the best board games of all time. And for RPG content, try these tabletop RPG dice systems better than DnD.