Media CEOs Advocate for Legislative Action on Generative AI


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  • Media CEOs urge Congress to act now, fearing AI lawsuits could shutter many companies in slow legal battles.
  • Conde Nast CEO Roger Lynch calls for legislation to compensate publishers for generative AI content use.
  • Industry leaders highlight the urgent need for clarity on fair use to secure the future viability of journalism.

Conde Nast Chief Executive Roger Lynch has emphasized the urgent need for congressional intervention in the face of potential business closures within the media industry due to the slow pace of litigation against generative AI companies. Speaking at a subcommittee hearing in the US Senate, Lynch warned that the protracted legal battles could lead to the demise of many media companies. He urged Congress to swiftly address the situation by clarifying that publishers should be compensated for the use of their content in the training and output of generative AI tools.

The Fair Use Debate and Threats to Media Viability

OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, and others in the generative AI industry have argued that their use of publisher content falls under the “fair use” doctrine in US copyright law. This doctrine protects transformative works that add something new and do not substitute the original work. However, Lynch stressed that if Congress disagrees with this interpretation, the free market will naturally resolve the issue.

In the context of the recent lawsuit by The New York Times against OpenAI, Lynch asserted that generative AI poses a real and significant threat to the media and publishing industries. He highlighted the potential adverse effects on advertising, subscription, affiliate, and licensing revenues, emphasizing the need for immediate action to secure the continued viability of journalism.

Time Sensitivity and Impacts on Smaller Publishers

Lynch underscored the time sensitivity of the situation, particularly for smaller publishers with limited resources. He expressed concern that the lengthy legal processes involved in negotiations and litigation could lead to the closure of numerous media companies. Lynch urged Congress to provide a simple clarification that would mandate compensation for publishers and the establishment of licensing deals for future use.

Licensing Deals as a Solution

Lynch argued that securing licensing deals would not only compensate publishers but also lead to future investments in content. Drawing parallels with the Australian journalism industry, where legislation forces platforms to pay for news content, he suggested that similar measures could be implemented in the United States to ensure fair compensation and sustainable journalism.

Highlighting the threat posed by generative AI, Lynch pointed out that these tools train users to rely on them for information, potentially diverting traffic and revenue away from traditional publishers. He emphasized the importance of connecting directly with audiences, customizing content, and generating revenue through advertising and subscriptions, which generative AI tools may hinder.

Call for Congressional Clarification

Lynch proposed a straightforward solution – a clarification from Congress that the use of publisher content for training and output of AI models is not considered fair use. He expressed confidence that the free market would take care of the rest, allowing private negotiations to address concerns raised by publishers.

Other industry representatives, including Danielle Coffey, President and CEO of the News/Media Alliance, offered suggestions for congressional action. These included requiring AI developers to explain their models’ outputs, provide links to cited materials, and prevent conditioning of services based on content usage permissions.

The subcommittee hearing shed light on the critical need for legislative action to protect the media industry from the potential adverse effects of generative AI. The debate over fair use, compensation, and the impact on journalism’s future continues, with industry leaders urging Congress to act swiftly to safeguard the vitality of the media ecosystem.

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John Palmer

John Palmer is an enthusiastic crypto writer with an interest in Bitcoin, Blockchain, and technical analysis. With a focus on daily market analysis, his research helps traders and investors alike. His particular interest in digital wallets and blockchain aids his audience.

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