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  • Writer's pictureJay Krall

The next phase of AI content licensing is here

Next week I'm giving a talk on how media research and social intelligence products are being transformed by generative AI, for the Press Database and Licencing Network. Researching this fast-moving topic, I plotted 15 noteworthy events in the evolving landscape of content licensing for generative AI in 2023. Up through early July, news of lawsuits against generative AI builders dominated the headlines, particularly against OpenAI, image generation company Stability AI and its Stable Diffusion product, as well as Google and Meta Platforms generative AI tools. While more lawsuits have been filed since, the last 4 months have seen a much more diverse range of activity which also includes occasional positive signs of partnership developments between AI companies and content owners, new warnings about scraping data without permission and violating publisher terms of service, as well as new guidance from regulators.

The timeline includes some well-known lawsuits brought by book authors, like Silverman et al v. OpenAI, and new generative AI content partnerships announced by the Associated Press and Getty Images. More recently, governments and trade associations have become more active in offering guidance, though the executive order on AI issued by the White House does not address the issue of copyright in generative AI, leaving this to the US courts. The approval of the EU AI Act draft in June was the earliest regulatory movement to signal that generative AI builders will likely be required to, at the very least, be transparent about the copyrighted sources they use to train their models.

What emerges at a bird's eye view is a typical pattern when a disruptive and threatening new technology is introduced: an initial wave of defensive action in the form of lawsuits, followed by a more varied range of activities which mix both growth-oriented partnerships as well as rights management and data governance strategies. For many news organizations, the time has come to form an initial set of alliances in the generative AI space and begin testing partnership propositions.



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