The company behind the AI image generator Stable Diffusion, Stability AI, has just announced new subscription models that revise the way customers can commercially utilize its AI models.

Stability AI says that these new subscription models are meant to “redefine” commercial rights to users. This approach is designed to find a middle ground between maintaining profitability and preserving openness.

The company’s new membership subscriptions are available in three tiers, two of which include a free variant meant for personal use and research, and a $20/month for creators, developers, and startups that have less than $1 million annual revenue and 1 million active users.

Finally, the enterprise tier will be the most expensive one and also the one with the most features. All tiers provide early access to new AI models, but the commercial use of these models is exclusive to the paid subscription tiers.

Stability AI said in a blog post: “As our company continues to mature and scale, the Stability AI Membership will play a pivotal role in funding our future research and development of core models.”

Stability, noted for its commitment to openness, continues on this path, as emphasized by CEO Emad Mostaque in an interview with Venture Beat. Mostaque reaffirmed the company’s dedication to releasing “open models,” complete with accessible code and weights. He drew a parallel between this approach and Meta’s launch of Llama 2, which, while available freely across various platforms, doesn’t fully align with the Open Source Initiative’s definition of open source.

However, users on the Stable Diffusion subreddit have a different opinion of the matter. These users have voiced uncertainty regarding the scope of “commercial use.” Questions persist about whether this term exclusively refers to those employing the models to offer their own generative AI services, or if it extends to anyone using images generated by Stable Diffusion for commercial purposes. Adding to the complexity is the current legal stance that denies copyright protection to AI-generated work, casting doubt on its commercial value.

Mostaque has acknowledged on his official social media account that Stability AI is “still trying to figure out pricing to keep it simple.”

Stability AI has implemented a payment system for certain models, including the introduction of a pricing plan for Stable Audio, its text-to-audio AI model, which was announced in September.

Similarly, other AI firms provide premium tiers that grant access to additional features. For instance, OpenAI offers ChatGPT Plus, which allows users to access the enhanced GPT-4 model along with quicker response times.