Yesterday (Nov. 29), News/Media Alliance President and CEO Danielle Coffey attended as an invited participant a bipartisan forum hosted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on “AI – Transparency, Explainability, Intellectual Property, & Copyright.”
This was the seventh AI Insight Forum that seeks to further innovation and develop bipartisan artificial intelligence legislation that takes the opportunities as well as the threats of AI technology into account. Also participating in the forum were 19 leaders from various industries, including the news media, entertainment and tech industries.
Yesterday's Forum focused on two key areas of AI policy: 1) transparency and explainability and 2) intellectual property and copyright, including addressing concerns around the use of copyrighted content in training and prompting. These are the most vital artificial intelligence concerns for the Alliance’s members.
In addition to a written statement provided in advance of the Forum, Coffey provided oral remarks sharing the unique perspective of the news and magazine industry.
Coffey stated, “I am honored to be invited by Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Rounds, Senator Heinrich and Senator Young to participate in this AI forum and I look forward to the dialogue. This is a critical time in the evolution of AI technology, and it is important to strike the right balance of creativity, innovation, regulation and respect for existing rights. We must ensure that publishers of high-quality journalism whose content is being used to train AI systems have a seat at the table.”
The Alliance — whose members comprise over 2,200 news and magazine media organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the U.S. and globally — has been leading the call since the advent of generative AI chatbots earlier this year for AI companies and developers to properly compensate publishers of quality journalism for use of their valuable content to train generative AI systems (GAI).
In April, the Alliance released AI Principles for the news and magazine media industry, which highlight the overarching principles that must guide the development and use of GAI systems as well as the policies and regulations governing them. Among other things, the AI Principles outline the need for GAI developers to obtain explicit permission for use of publishers’ intellectual property, and for publishers to be able to negotiate for fair compensation for use of their IP by these developers. In addition, the Alliance helped organize the publication of Global AI Principles in September, endorsed by 31 organizations representing thousands of creative professionals around the world, including news, entertainment, magazine and book publishing companies and the academic publishing sector.
On Oct. 31, the Alliance released a White Paper entitled, “How the Pervasive Copying of Expressive Works to Train and Fuel Generative Artificial Intelligence Systems Is Copyright Infringement And Not a Fair Use,” which shows that GAI systems have been developed by copying massive amounts of the expressive material published by the Alliance’s members, almost always without authorization or compensation, to create new products and services that frequently compete with Alliance member publishers.
The Alliance also recently submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office on the use of publisher content to power generative artificial intelligence technologies (GAI). The comments, White Paper and accompanying technical analysis together document the pervasive, unauthorized use of publisher content by GAI developers, the impact this may have on the sustainability and availability of high-quality original content, and the legal implications of such use.
The Copyright Office comments and the White Paper offer multiple recommendations to policymakers, including recognizing that unauthorized use of publishers’ expressive content for commercial GAI training and development is likely to compete with and harm publisher businesses in a manner that infringes copyright; creating transparency requirements to require disclosure of the use of copyright protected content in training; encouraging and facilitating effective licensing solutions; supporting international cooperation and harmonization on GAI regulations; and adopting legislation to remedy existing market imbalances that prevent publishers from engaging in fair negotiations for the use of their content against dominant platforms.
Coffey added, “For years the Big Tech platforms have gotten away with using our publishers’ content to add billions to their bottom lines, all while publishers have suffered. Now, the platforms and AI companies are scraping publisher content and using it to train their generative AI systems — again without compensating publishers. This goes far beyond fair use. Journalists, writers, publishers and other creators make the investments and take the risks while generative AI developers reap the rewards of traffic, data, brand creation, subscription fees and advertising dollars. This is freeriding, and it is antithetical to established copyright law and the public interest that it serves.”
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