Text-to-image generator Midjourney has stopped free trial due to “trial abuse,” as its CEO explains. There has been a massive influx of new users lately, which kept crashing the site for paid ones. So, if you’ve been using your free trial – sorry, you’re going to have to pay earlier than you thought if you want to continue using the popular text-to-image tool
[Related reading: DIYP Quiz: AI or photo?]
The Washington Post spotted a message on Midojourney’s Discord announcing the change. Midjourney CEO and co-founder David Holz“ originally cited extraordinary demand and trial abuse” in the announcement. “We think the culprit was probably a viral how-to video in China,” Holz told The Verge. “This happened at the same time as a temporary GPU shortage. The two things came together and it was bringing down the service for paid users.”
But don’t mix this “abuse” with the fact that even paid users have been using (and abusing) Midjourney to create pretty problematic fake images, like Donald Trump’s arrest. Holz clarifies that it only refers to the massive number of new users who started using the service. After all, the viral images of Trump’s arrest or the Pope wearing a puffy coat were most likely created using the latest Midjourney 5 – and free users don’t have access to it anyway.
Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump's arrest. pic.twitter.com/4D2QQfUpLZ
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) March 20, 2023
On a slightly unrelated note, I find it interesting that Midojourney has a list of blocked words in different countries, as Holz noted in October last year:
“We’ve blocked a bunch of words related to topics in different countries based on complaints from users in those countries. I’m not going to give a complete list but it’s a lot more than the one you listed (no they’re not all china either). Almost no one ever notices unless they’re specially trying to create drama which is against our rules in tos ‘don’t use our tools to create drama'”
But according to The Verge, the company has expanded the list of banned words after some fakes have gone viral and caused a stir. Midjourney now also bans the word “arrested,” thanks to those viral Trump photos. However, I did manage to use the prompt “police arrests Donald Trump” for the illustration I used in this article (I hope I won’t get banned). The Verge also notes that restrictions like this are easily bypassed by using different wording with the same context. “For example, in The Verge’s tests, we were unable to generate images with the prompt ‘Donald Trump being arrested,'” this source notes. “But [we] could create identical output with the prompt ‘Donald Trump in handcuffs surrounded by police.'” Don’t you just love how language works?!
So, no matter if you’re a paid or free user, you can still probably bypass some restrictions by rewording your prompts. But if you just wanted to play with Midjourney and see if it’s worth your money – well, now you have to decide whether you want to pay or not as there’s no more free trial for you.
[via The Verge]