Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop stealing books

New York, July 19 (IANS) More than 8,000 famous writers, including Margaret Atwood, Nora Roberts, and Michael Chabon, have, in an open letter, called out to CEOs of OpenAI, Alphabet, Meta, Stability AI, and IBM to stop stealing their copyrighted materials in training their generative Artificial Intelligence models.

The authors also asked the tech companies behind large language models like ChatGPT, Bard, LLaMa to “obtain consent, credit, and fairly compensate writers”, even as the companies make millions, out of their hard-earned work — worth for which has declined at the advent of AI.

“Generative AI technologies built on large language models owe their existence to our writings. These technologies mimic and regurgitate our language, stories, style, and ideas,” they wrote.

The petition of the writers, under the New York-based Authors Guild, said their copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poetry have become the “food” for AI systems, for which “there has been no bill”.

“You’re spending billions of dollars to develop AI technology. It is only fair that you compensate us for using our writings, without which AI would be banal and extremely limited.”

The authors further said that generative AI is damaging their profession as it is “flooding the market with mediocre, machine-written books, stories, and journalism” – all that is based on their hard earned work.

AI also threatens “young writers and voices from under-represented communities”.

To mitigate the damage to their profession, the authors asked the AI leaders to “obtain permission for use of our copyrighted material in your generative AI programmes; compensate writers fairly for the past and ongoing use of our works in your generative AI programmes; compensate writers fairly for the use of our works in AI output, whether or not the outputs are infringing under current law”.

“We hope you will appreciate the gravity of our concerns and that you will work with us to ensure, in the years to come, a healthy ecosystem for authors and journalists.”

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