The UK government is being urged by publishing associations to safeguard copyrighted materials from artificial intelligence.
Four major publishing trade organizations have called on the UK government to intervene in the unregulated and unclear production of artificial intelligence tools that utilize copyrighted materials without consequence.
On Tuesday, a joint statement was issued by the Publishers Association, the Society of Authors, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, and the Association of Authors’ Agents. This marks the first time that the publishing industry has collectively addressed AI.
The day before the government’s AI safety summit, which is set to happen at Bletchley Park on Wednesday and Thursday, the publishing organizations expressed their support for Rishi Sunak for organizing the first summit of its kind and for positioning the UK as a leader in promoting global action on AI. However, they also urged the prime minister to make a “statement of commitment” to safeguard human creativity, intellectual property, publishing, and the creative industries as AI continues to advance.
The statement calls for recognition and compensation for the unauthorized use of copyrighted material. It specifically mentions a database called Books3, which includes books by authors like Zadie Smith and Rachel Cusk. This database was used by companies like Meta and Bloomberg to train their AI tools. The Atlantic’s analysis in August revealed this information.
Earlier this month, a representative from Bloomberg stated that the company was not utilizing Books3 to train for-profit versions of its extensive language model, BloombergGPT. However, the dataset was used for training their research model. In a lawsuit filed in September, Meta argued that their use of copyrighted texts to train their model, LLaMA, falls under fair use. Shawn Presser, the independent AI developer who initially created Books3, expressed understanding for authors’ concerns but created the database with the intention of allowing anyone to develop generative AI tools. He also expressed concerns about the potential risks of large corporations having sole control over this technology.
The organizations responsible for publishing stated that human ingenuity is the foundation of the publishing and other creative industries, and is valued at approximately £116 billion in the UK this year. They emphasized that creative work can only flourish with a robust copyright system, fair compensation and acknowledgement for authors and other creators, and control for rights holders.
The European Writers’ Council, the Federation of European Publishers, and the European and International Booksellers Federation have urged the EU to prioritize transparency in regards to artificial intelligence in order to protect the book industry and democracy. This statement follows from three major publishing organizations in Europe.
The trade organizations in the UK stated that it was long overdue for the “unclear development” of AI to come to an end and that this can only be achieved with significant government backing. They also emphasized that this is a concern that the entire publishing industry agrees on and that it is crucial for authors and rightsholders to be safeguarded by the government.
“We must implement practices that prioritize consent and fair compensation to guarantee that authors and rights holders are properly acknowledged and compensated for the use of their creations. It is crucial to ensure that creators are recognized for their contributions when their works are utilized to produce derivative works.”
On Monday, Downing Street said it was pleased with the responses it had had to invitations to this week’s AI summit, despite Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron declining to attend.