Four prominent organizations in the publishing industry have requested that the government of the United Kingdom take action to address the unrestricted and unclear advancement of artificial intelligence technology that utilizes copyrighted material without consequences.
On Tuesday, a joint statement was issued by the Publishers Association, Society of Authors, Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, and Association of Authors’ Agents. This marks the first time that the publishing trade organizations have come together to address AI.
The day before the government’s AI safety summit, which will be held at Bletchley Park on Wednesday and Thursday, is approaching. The organizations responsible for publishing have expressed their support for Rishi Sunak’s initiative to convene the first summit of its kind and to position the UK as a leader in global action on AI. However, they also urge 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 violation of copyrights that has already occurred. It specifically mentions a pirated database called Books3, which includes works by authors such as Zadie Smith and Rachel Cusk. The Atlantic’s analysis in August revealed that this database was used to train AI tools by companies like Meta and Bloomberg. Assurances are also needed to ensure that these practices will be stopped.
According to the publishing organizations, human ingenuity is the foundation of the publishing and other creative industries in the UK, with an estimated value of £116 billion this year. They emphasized that a robust copyright system, fair compensation, proper recognition for authors and creators, and protection of rights are crucial for the success of creative endeavors.
The EU has been urged by three major publishing organizations in Europe – the European Writers’ Council, the Federation of European Publishers, and the European and International Booksellers Federation – to prioritize transparency in regards to artificial intelligence in order to protect the book industry and democracy.
The organizations representing the UK’s trade industry expressed their belief that putting an end to the secretive advancement of AI is overdue and can only be achieved with significant government backing. They emphasized that this is a matter that the entire publishing sector agrees upon and stressed the importance of government protection for authors and rightsholders.
To ensure authors and rightsholders are fairly compensated for the use of their works, it is important to have practices that are based on consent and proper payment. It is also crucial to give credit to creators when their works are used to create new content.
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.