Authors urge AI companies to respect copyright and protect the rights of writers

A group of more than 8,000 renowned authors, led by the New York-based Authors Guild, have come together to address a growing concern in the literary world. In an open letter, notable writers such as Margaret Atwood, Nora Roberts, and Michael Chabon have called upon the CEOs of leading AI companies, including OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, and IBM, to stop the unauthorized use of their copyrighted materials for training generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) models.

The authors express their deep concern that their creative works, including books, articles, essays, and poetry, have been utilized as the “food” for AI systems without their consent or fair compensation. They argue that the development and success of AI technologies built upon large language models owe their existence to the writings of authors. These technologies extensively mimic and replicate their language, stories, style, and ideas. Therefore, the authors argue that it is only just and equitable for AI companies to compensate them for the use of their intellectual property.

Generative AI models, driven by large language models like ChatGPT, Bard, and LLaMa, have exponentially grown in popularity. However, the authors highlight that their profession has suffered as a result. They assert that the market has become flooded with mediocre, machine-written books, stories, and journalism, all of which heavily rely on their hard-earned work. Furthermore, this proliferation of AI-generated content threatens emerging writers and voices from underrepresented communities, who already face challenges in gaining recognition and visibility.

To address these concerns and protect their profession, the authors call upon AI industry leaders to take specific actions. They request that these companies obtain permission to use copyrighted material in their generative AI programs and fairly compensate writers for both past and ongoing use of their works in these programs. Additionally, they emphasize the need to compensate writers for the use of their works in AI-generated output, irrespective of whether the outputs infringe upon current copyright laws.

The authors believe that the AI industry leaders should recognize the significance of their concerns and work collaboratively to establish a healthy ecosystem that supports authors and journalists. They emphasize that the billions of dollars invested in AI technology development should be accompanied by a commitment to respecting copyright and ensuring fair compensation for the creative works that form the foundation of generative AI models.

By acknowledging and addressing the writers’ concerns, AI companies can foster a mutually beneficial relationship with the literary community while upholding ethical practices in the use of copyrighted materials. Collaboration and fair compensation will contribute to a thriving ecosystem where the rights of authors are respected, new voices can flourish, and the potential of AI technology can be realized without infringing upon the creative rights of individuals.