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– Conceptual AI Firms Criticized by IAC and News Corp. for Unauthorized Data Scraping

During News Corp’s and IAC’s latest earnings calls, the publishers reiterated their anger toward ge…

The resentment expressed by the producers towards conceptual AI companies for utilizing publishers’ material without consent or compensation was reiterated during the most recent earnings calls of News Corp. and IAC.

Publishers have taken various measures to protect their content from such practices, including entering into one-off revenue share agreements like the one between the Associated Press and OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, and forming coalitions to negotiate for payments, such as the group led by IAC chairman Barry Diller. Moreover, many major publishers have implemented measures to prevent conceptual AI web crawlers from scraping their websites.

While some of these initiatives have proven effective, advertising executives acknowledged during their earnings calls that there is room for improvement.

CEO Robert Thomson mentioned being in advanced discussions with online companies during News Corp.’s recent earnings call on November 9, aiming to secure significant revenue in exchange for utilizing their unparalleled content sets. Although a spokesperson declined to disclose details about the conceptual AI firms News Corp. is in talks with, Thomson’s reference to a substantial sum of money being offered by tech firms hints at progress. He highlighted News Corp.’s participation in a group of publishers negotiating with technology companies over content usage for AI applications, spearheaded by Diller, in an earlier call on August 10.

Diller has been advocating for a reevaluation of copyright law and fair use, criticizing tech giants like Google and Microsoft for exploiting publishers’ content to fuel their large language models (LLMs) without compensation. Despite ongoing negotiations throughout the year, little headway has been made. The New York Times is reportedly exploring legal action against OpenAI after withdrawing from the coalition in August, and News Corp. ultimately decided not to participate as well.

Some creators have opted to establish direct agreements with conceptual AI firms. For instance, the AP reached a deal with OpenAI in July, allowing the latter to access a portion of the company’s text archive for model training.

The outcome of the negotiations between News Corp., other publishers in Diller’s alliance, and tech companies regarding the protection of their intellectual property from LLMs remains uncertain. Analyst Daniel Kurnos noted News Corp.’s past success in securing payments from major tech companies like Google, citing a recent agreement for Google to compensate the news organization significantly for including its content in Google’s News Showcase product.

The battle against unchecked AI content creation is gaining momentum, as evidenced by recent Hollywood strikes celebrated by writers’ and actors’ guilds. Agreements like the Writers Guild of America’s mandate that AI-generated content be made available to members as resource material, with limitations on AI’s ability to modify literary works. Content creators are seeking fair compensation and safeguards against unauthorized use of their original content in AI-generated material.

IAC CEO Joey Levin emphasized the importance of defending copyrighted information during a business income visit on November 8, suggesting that legal action may be necessary to resolve disputes over content usage by conceptual AI companies.

The ongoing lawsuits and legal challenges indicate a complex landscape where the resolution may require federal intervention. Kurnos suggested that governmental action might be necessary to address the issue effectively, given the evolving nature of AI technology and its impact on content creators and publishers.

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Last modified: February 24, 2024
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