Congress Wants Tech Companies to Pay Up for AI Training Data

Do AI corporations have to pay for the coaching information that powers their generative AI programs? The query is hotly contested in Silicon Valley and in a wave of lawsuits levied towards tech behemoths like Meta, Google, and OpenAI. In Washington, DC, although, there appears to be a rising consensus that the tech giants have to cough up.

Today, at a Senate listening to on AI’s influence on journalism, lawmakers from each side of the aisle agreed that OpenAI and others ought to pay media retailers for utilizing their work in AI initiatives. “It’s not only morally right,” stated Richard Blumenthal, the Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law that held the listening to. “It’s legally required.”

Josh Hawley, a Republican working with Blumenthal on AI laws, agreed. “It shouldn’t be that just because the biggest companies in the world want to gobble up your data, they should be able to do it,” he stated.

Media trade leaders on the listening to at this time described how AI corporations had been imperiling their trade through the use of their work with out compensation. Curtis LeGeyt, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, Danielle Coffey, CEO of the News Media Alliance, and Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, all spoke in favor of licensing. (WIRED is owned by Condé Nast.)

Coffey claimed that AI corporations “eviscerate the quality content they feed upon,” and Lynch characterised coaching information scraped with out permission as “stolen goods.” Coffey and Lynch additionally each stated that they consider AI corporations are infringing on copyright beneath present regulation. Lynch urged lawmakers to make clear that utilizing journalistic content material with out first brokering licensing agreements will not be protected by honest use, a authorized doctrine that allows copyright violations beneath sure situations.

Common Ground

Senate hearings could be adversarial, however the temper at this time was largely congenial. The lawmakers and media trade insiders usually applauded every others’ statements. “If Congress could clarify that the use of our content, or other publisher content, for the training and output of AI models is not fair use, then the free market will take care of the rest,” Lynch stated at one level. “That seems eminently reasonable to me,” Hawley replied.

Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis was the listening to’s solely discordant voice. He asserted that coaching on information obtained with out fee is, certainly, honest use, and spoke towards obligatory licensing, arguing that it might harm the data ecosystem reasonably than safeguard it. “I must say that I am offended to see publishers lobby for protectionist legislation, trading on the political capital earned through journalism,” he stated, jabbing at his fellow audio system. (Jarvis was additionally topic to the listening to’s solely actual contentious line of questioning, from Republican Marsha Blackburn, who needled Jarvis about whether or not AI is biased towards conservatives and recited an AI-generated poem praising President Biden as proof.)

Outside of the committee room, there may be much less settlement that obligatory licensing is important. OpenAI and different AI corporations have argued that it’s not viable to license all coaching information, and a few impartial AI specialists agree.