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How will The New York Times’ lawsuit against OpenAI shape the future of AI (and journalism)?

On Wednesday the 27th, The New York Times (NYT) filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Open AI for using your texts without permission to train the capabilities of their chatbots, such as the ultra-famous ChatGPT.

This case, according to experts consulted by El Comercio, could mark a milestone in the future of journalism.

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Through Microsoft’s Bing Chat (recently renamed ‘Copilot’) and Open AI’s ChatGPT, the defendants seek to take advantage of the Times’ enormous investment in its journalism, using it to build substitute products without permission or payment.“, specifies the requirement of prestigious media outlets, according to the EFE agency.

The legal document continues to show examples of various texts produced by GPT-4 that are almost indistinguishable from some research published by the vehicle. Furthermore, it shows that the Bing search engine can be asked to copy entire paragraphs of news from the NYT, which requires a subscription to read much of its content.

Many of the texts mentioned in the lawsuit are protected by copyright and more and more authors and companies are demanding compensation for the use of their works.

According to the NYT itself, an OpenAI spokesperson, Lindsey Held, said in a statement that the company had “constructively advanced” conversations with the media and that she was “surprised and disappointed” by the process. Microsoft, on the other hand, declined to comment on the case.

Issues related to intellectual property are already being discussed in the international media and in press advocacy organizations, such as the Inter-American Press Society (SIP). As we know, generative artificial intelligence collects information from the Internet to develop a response. But that information may have been collected and processed by a media outlet. A medium that must pay a journalist to obtain information or must invest to generate this knowledge. But when the bot gives you the answer, the user often doesn’t even need to enter the middle link“, he comments The trade Rodrigo Salazar Zimmermann, executive president of the Peruvian Press Council.

The discussion goes deeper than the simple use of artificial intelligence. This is the end of a long chain of lawsuits that the media have filed against technology companies in relation to the free use of content generated by these media.”, comments Erick Iriarte, lawyer specializing in Digital Law.

It also emerged that the NYT did not request financial compensation as part of its lawsuit, but rather that both companies be responsible for “billions of dollars” in damages, and that AI models using “copyrighted” information from The New York Times be destroyed.

Liability also implies pecuniary liability. If the content has been copyrighted, royalties must be paid. Discussions in recent years have revolved around how these platforms should pay for the content they use. The argument of these platforms, however, is that they are allowing content to be disseminated and reach more users.”, says the jurist.

This legal battle, in fact, is far from the first fought by media and technology companies since the emergence of the Internet. The most recent case arose in Australia as a result of a regulation that ordered giants like Google or Meta to pay social media outlets for the content they showed to their users.

In 2021 this resulted in the so-called Google law, which led the technology giant to threaten to paralyze its operations in the oceanic country. However, this did not happen and since then more than 30 commercial agreements have been signed between Australian technology companies and media outlets. Furthermore, the model was replicated in countries such as France, Germany, Canada and the United States.

Yes, it’s very similar to the discussion the media has with Google and Meta. The background to the case is that publishers have the right to demand fair payment for the use of their content and this is not happening. What I can intuit is that this case will be used as a test, just as Australia did with negotiations between media outlets and digital platforms.”, says Salazar.

It is not known how long the trial between the NYT and Open AI will take; However, both experts consulted by The trade They believe it could be a turning point for the future of the global press.

On the platform side, explains Iriarte, “They will try to demonstrate that this is a “fair use” of the content. Like a teacher at school, who feeds on the content and transmits it to students, even if this transmission is not an exact ‘copy and paste’”. While the mediaThey will appeal that the content was protected by copyright and that it was necessary to pay for its use.”.

In the case of Peru, experts have difficulty in initiating an action of this type in the near future, mainly because there is no national body with the competence to supervise these companies and because of the high costs that a process of this type would represent. . “OpenAI is not a company based in Peru and I imagine it doesn’t even have a corporate name in our country. Indecopi would not have jurisdiction in this case. On the other hand, how much does a test of this type cost and how long does it last? Furthermore, The New York Times is the largest newspaper in the world, it has a large capacity. Could Peruvian media support such a process? It is very complicated. And what’s coming in 2024 will be more complex due to the explosive growth of AI”, says Salazar.

In this sense, the actions that can be taken at a regional level and under the representation of organizations such as the SIP become more relevant.

What IAPA and many Latin American media outlets can communicate will be very important. It could be the tip of the spear for a discussion that would ultimately clarify the issue of royalties related to copyright. However, taken to a negative consequence, it could establish that platforms have a type of permanent “fair use”, as long as there is no bad faith in the use of the content. The Latin American media should pay attention to the discussion and what the North American court decides. On the other hand, we should not forget that AI is also affecting journalists, as many media outlets are using these technologies to precisely remove journalists from the equation.”, says Iriarte.

Salazar, however, is more cautious about the regional situation, but highlights small steps that have been taken in this direction. “Latin America is a little behind in paying for the use of digital content. If we are wrong on this, even more so on AI issues. However, in the third quarter of this year, SIP published a series of global principles on AI. There, issues of intellectual property, transparency in algorithms, among others, are discussed. For this to transcend and become a collective action, there is still a long way to go to reduce media revenues.“, Explain.

What I know is happening, and that several companies are responsible for specifying with their distributors, is that when drafting contracts, a linguistic form is created to specify that the content will not be used to train any of these new technologies.”, comments Salazar.

Source: Elcomercio

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