March 27, 2024
Content Copyright Battle: News Publishers vs. AI Developers

Content Copyright Battle: News Publishers vs. AI Developers

In a startling revelation, the News Media Alliance (NMA) has accused artificial intelligence (AI) developers of engaging in the unauthorized scraping of copyrighted content from news publications and journalists to train their AI models. On October 30, NMA released a comprehensive 77-page white paper and submitted it to the United States Copyright Office, highlighting a concerning trend in the utilization of news publisher content in AI model training datasets. The NMA asserts that this practice results in AI systems generating content that infringes on copyright laws, thereby putting traditional news outlets in direct competition with AI-generated materials.

The NMA’s statement on October 31 emphasized that “Many generative AI developers have chosen to scrape publisher content without permission and use it for model training and in real-time to create competing products.” This raises profound ethical and legal questions surrounding copyright infringement and its implications for the news industry.

The crux of the NMA’s argument is that while news publishers make substantial investments and assume significant risks, it is the AI developers who reap the rewards. This includes benefits in terms of user engagement, access to valuable data, brand recognition, and advertising revenue. In contrast, publishers have experienced diminished revenues, reduced employment opportunities, and strained relationships with their audiences due to this burgeoning competition with AI models.

In response to these challenges, the NMA has put forward a series of recommendations to the Copyright Office. They propose that the Copyright Office should officially declare that the use of a publication’s content to monetize AI systems harms publishers. Additionally, the group advocates for the implementation of various licensing models and transparency measures designed to curtail the unauthorized use of copyrighted materials by AI developers. Furthermore, the NMA suggests that measures should be adopted to eliminate protected content scraped from third-party websites.

The NMA has thoughtfully acknowledged that generative AI also brings several advantages. They noted that publications and journalists can employ AI for functions such as proofreading, idea generation, and optimizing their content for search engines.

This controversy isn’t limited to the NMA’s claims alone. Over the past year, AI models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Anthropic’s Claude have witnessed a surge in usage. However, the methodologies employed to train these AI models have come under scrutiny, with several allegations of copyright infringement being raised. Notably, comedian Sarah Silverman filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Meta in July, alleging that these companies had employed her copyrighted work to train their AI systems without her consent. Furthermore, OpenAI and Google have both faced separate class-action lawsuits regarding claims of data scraping and copyright infringement.

In response to these allegations, Google has affirmed its commitment to assume legal responsibility in cases where its customers are accused of copyright infringement for utilizing its generative AI products on Google Cloud and Workspace. However, it’s important to note that Google’s Bard search tool is not covered by this legal protection promise.

If you are challenged on copyright grounds, we will assume responsibility for the potential legal risks involved.


The allegations and concerns raised by the NMA, Sarah Silverman, and others have drawn attention to a significant issue surrounding the use of copyrighted material in training AI models. This has set the stage for crucial discussions on copyright protection and ethical practices within the AI industry.


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