By Charlie Pizani


March 2024

The Impact of AI in Media: Copyright Challenges & OpenAI's Response


In the past month, several media outlets are interested in suing OpenAI for using copyrighted work without crediting the journalists or companies involved. The businesses behind this fight are Raw Story, AlterNet, and The Intercept, with the first two attempting to sue OpenAI and The Intercept trying to sue Microsoft’s venture into AI with Bing. These lawsuits are only expected to continue, different companies ranging from news websites to acting agencies are all interested in claiming an infringement of copyright law. It seems that this will only be able to be handled with progressive policy changes or continuous fines.

In this blog post, we will be exploring the evolving relationship between media outlets and AI as OpenAI faces lawsuits from Raw Story and AlterNet over copyright violations. Discover the implications for journalism and entertainment and learn about OpenAI's response and the push for better crediting practices.

What the companies have stated:

Each of these specific companies are attempting to claim £2,500 per copyright violation from OpenAI or Microsoft, claiming that the methods the AI industry uses is unfair towards artists, journalists and writers. As well as this, the companies have requested that OpenAI and Microsoft must take down and stop the copyrighted layout and information from being used by the AI. Raw Story CEO, John Byrne, who has a long history in activism and nonprofits, states “It is time that news organizations fight back against Big Tech’s continued attempts to monetize other people’s work”.

However, when AI does get crediting right, not only does it follow copyright laws, but it also provides massive engagement for the journalists mentioned. Due to the wide reach of tools like OpenAI and Bing AI, they are able to provide users with a range of different sources and links to the work of whoever’s it has used. This can range from supplying social media links or to where you can find the journalists or artists website/work.

Does AI naturally plagiarise:

Not only is there debate on whether or not AI is more beneficial than harmful, but it is also questioned on whether the formatting of AI content is legally considered plagiarism. AI tools such as ChatGPT and Jasper.AI actually cannot directly steal work, as they are programmed to interpret data and reword it in a different format. This is interpretated differently depending on specific governments, for instance; USA, Britain and Germany are lenient with AI laws, and China, India and Indonesia are stricter. However, this method is still often considered unethical or dishonest, no matter the legal factors, due to the basing of other peoples work.

How this has affected other industries:

·         Entertainment

This lack of credit in AI has had major implications in the past 2 years, resulting in more than just a £2,500 fine, but instead a large strike in the entertainment industry. Due to writers and actors feeling taken advantage of the industry was put on hold for around 100 days. Actors had their likeness used on screen without permission, and writers were out of jobs due to AI producing its own scripts, and so Hollywood unions refused to work.

The overall effect of this strike was demonstrated quite clearly, with a sudden lack in quality throughout film and TV, which we are still seeing over a year later. If these sorts of strikes were to continue happening across different sectors like tech and journalism, the effects could be catastrophic. This demonstrates why AI creators need to implement a more efficient way of crediting writers and journalists, or fines will continue to increase.

·         British Politics

The governmental policy in UK parliament allowing AI to train with the free use of books, film and music has caused outrage within MPs and politicians. One of these MPs being Caroline Dinenage, who warned parliament about the claim that AI had over personal intellectual property. However, the policy makers have stated that this law “provides an appropriate balance between innovation and creator rights”. This political factor could determine how the British public view AI and sway their voting decisions.

Enjoying what you're reading?

See our work

OpenAI and Microsoft’s responses:

Whilst not directly responding to Raw Story or AlterNet, OpenAI have released a statement on the pressing matter, responding to anyone who is concerned about the treatment of copyrighted work. The company has stated that they plan on working with media companies and publishers who would be willing to join them. This initiative is beneficial for both OpenAI and outlets, helping to strengthen their AI whilst also providing the appropriate credit required for journalists.

Microsoft have also previously stated that they would be willing to pay for the costs and financial profit that businesses have lost, due to their Ai’s work. This clearly demonstrates that Microsoft is focused more on developing their AI and paying for the damage afterwards, most likely due to Bing AI being less developed or as known as OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Our Final Thoughts:

It is clear that for media outlets and AI to work side by side, advancements need to be made. However, this is expected given the immediate introduction that AI has made in our daily lives, therefore it still needs time to find its feet. Although, given the sudden improvements that AI companies seem to be making weekly, the progress with copyright laws and governmental policies will most likely not take too long.

While challenges persist, collaborative efforts between AI developers, media companies, and policymakers hold promise for establishing clearer crediting practices and fostering a more harmonious relationship between technology and journalism in the digital age.

Enjoyed This Tech Insight?

Don't miss out on the latest tech trends and developments by subscribing to our Tech Roundup Newsletter where every two weeks, we share the biggest tech headlines from around the world.

Make sure to subscribe here!