Authors Unite Against AI Companies: Seek Respect and Pay for Copyrighted Work

K. C. Sabreena Basheer 25 Jul, 2023 • 4 min read

Prominent authors, including literary giants like Margaret Atwood, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Philip Pullman, have united to demand that artificial intelligence (AI) companies respect their rights and seek permission before utilizing their copyrighted material. The Authors Guild, America’s largest professional organization for writers, has spearheaded this initiative. The movement urges major AI companies such as OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, StabilityAI, and IBM to heed their calls for change.

Also Read: OpenAI and Meta Sued for Copyright Infringement

The Demand to Seek Permission

The open letter, which has garnered nearly 8,000 signatures, sets forth three crucial demands from the AI companies like OpenAI. First and foremost, it implores these companies to obtain explicit permission from authors before utilizing their copyrighted works. It’s a simple ask that ensures writers retain control over the use of their creations in the world of AI.

Prominent authors & writers' unions have united to demand AI companies such as OpenAI seek permission before using their copyrighted material.

We Want Fair Compensation

Secondly, the authors insist on fair compensation for the past and ongoing use of their works by AI. The growth of AI in the literary landscape is undoubtedly built on the foundation of countless hours of hard work and creativity from authors worldwide. Hence, it is only fair to compensate these creators fairly for their contributions to the development of artificial intelligence.

“The output of AI will always be derivative in nature,” says Maya Shanbhag Lang, the president of the Authors Guild. “AI regurgitates what it takes in, which is the work of human writers. It’s only fair that authors be compensated for having ‘fed’ AI and continuing to inform its evolution.”

Also Read: Hollywood Writers Go on Strike Against AI Tools, Call It ‘Plagiarism Machine’

The third demand calls for writers to receive fair compensation for using their works in AI outputs. This is irrespective of whether these outputs infringe current copyright laws or not. By addressing this issue, the authors seek to create a system where AI outputs coexist with the ethical treatment of creative content and its creators.

Authors demand AI companies such as OpenAI, Meta, and IBM seek permission before using their copyrighted material.

Literary Figures Unite in the Battle Against AI Exploitation

The movement to combat the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the literary world has gained significant momentum. Just a month ago, two North American authors, Mona Awad, and Paul Tremblay, filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, claiming a breach of copyright law. This legal action sent a powerful message to the AI community, reinforcing that authors’ creative works should not be exploited without proper consent and compensation.

Also Read: Barry Diller Vs. Generative AI: Copyright Legal Battle

Society of Authors Offer Support

The Society of Authors (SoA), the UK’s leading industry body for writers, has also thrown its weight behind the cause. The SoA has fully supported the Authors Guild’s open letter and the legal efforts undertaken by Awad and Tremblay. Nicola Solomon, the chief executive of the SoA, emphasizes that consent, credit, and compensation are fundamental pillars of the intellectual property regime, critical for every author’s ability to safeguard their work and earn a livelihood.

The Society of Authors has joined in the demand for respect and pay for copyrighted content.

Challenges Ahead: Balancing Profit Motives and Ethical Ramifications

While the authors’ efforts to influence AI developers are vital, Nicola Solomon acknowledges that addressing the larger challenge requires a multi-faceted approach. The profit motives of large corporations predominantly drive the pursuit of building the next generation of AI systems. It has resulted in an opaque, unfettered, and unregulated environment. As a result, ethical considerations often take a backseat, necessitating more robust scrutiny and safeguards.

Also Read: EU’s AI Act to Set Global Standard in AI Regulation, Asian Countries Remain Cautious

A Call for Unity: Authors Stand Strong Against AI Exploitation

The joint efforts of renowned authors from around the globe have shed light on a pressing issue facing the literary world – the ethical use of AI in creative processes. By demanding consent, fair compensation, and respect for copyright, these authors are standing up for their rights and the rights of their peers.

This movement has resonated deeply with audiences, sparking conversations on social media, news outlets, and various online platforms. It’s a cry for change, a call for ethical AI practices & a celebration of the creativity that enriches our world.

AI companies such as OpenAI must give respect and seek permission before using published material.

Our Say

The united front of prominent authors, spearheaded by the Authors Guild, demanding ethical AI practices marks a pivotal moment in the battle against AI exploitation in the literary world. The movement’s resonance demonstrates the widespread recognition of the value of creativity and the importance of protecting authors’ rights. As the Authors Guild & the Society of Authors advocate for change, they set a powerful example for the future. A future where artistry & innovation can coexist harmoniously, ensuring that creators’ contributions are rightfully recognized & rewarded in the AI-driven world.

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