Open letter to tech giants: Authors seek fair compensation for training AI

This open letter highlights the growing pressure on tech companies to address intellectual property concerns and fairly compensate authors for their contributions to the development of AI technology.

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Over 8,000 published authors have signed an open letter demanding compensation from big tech, including OpenAI, Meta, Google, Stability AI, IBM, and Microsoft, for using their copyrighted works in training AI tools without permission. The authors accuse these companies of unfairly profiting from their creations, stressing that millions of copyrighted materials have been used as input for AI systems without any payment to the original creators.

The authors’ letter not only called for compensation for their works’ past and ongoing use in generative AI programs but also urged AI companies to seek permission before utilising copyrighted material. They emphasised the need for fair compensation when their work is featured in the results of generative AI, regardless of whether the outputs infringe on current copyright laws.

The authors refer to a recent Supreme Court case, Warhol v Goldsmith, which ruled that artist Andy Warhol infringed on a photographer’s copyright when creating silk screens based on a photograph of Prince. The letter argues that the commercial nature of AI usage undermines the defence of fair use. In the case, the court determined that Warhol’s alterations to the underlying photograph were not substantial enough to avoid copyright infringement.