Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Hollywood Labor Backs AI Transparency Bill That Could Offer Firepower to Creators

Must read

As generative artificial intelligence tools push into the entertainment industry, Hollywood is throwing its weight behind a bill that will require heightened transparency from AI companies.

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Tuesday, will require firms to disclose copyrighted works used to train generative AI systems. If the bill passes, OpenAI, for example, would be forced to reveal videos and other content used to create Sora.

It’s a long-shot bid to provide some ammunition to companies and creators across the industry that are threatened by the rise of generative AI tools that could play a significant role in the production pipeline. If it’s made known that companies used copyrighted works from filmmakers, writers and artists, among others, in the creation of AI systems, there could be cause to sue.

Trade groups and unions across the industry are cheering on the bill. Most maintained that their members’ works are illegally being used to train AI systems.

In a statement, Writers Guild of America West president Meredith Stiehm called it an “important first step in addressing the unprecedented and unauthorized use of copyrighted materials to train generative AI systems.”

Directors Guild of America president Lesli Linka Glatter echoed the sentiment, adding that it can enable “filmmakers to protect their intellectual property.”

IATSE International president Matthew D. Loeb stressed in a statement that the legislation could potentially enable “workers to enforce their rights.”

Other groups supporting the legislation include the Recording Industry Association of America, Authors Guild, National Association of Voice Actors, Concept Art Association, Recording Academy and National Association of Voice Actors, among various others.

Under the bill, entities that create or alter training datasets to build a generative AI system must submit to regulators a “sufficiently detailed summary of any copyrighted works used” within 30 days of the product’s offering to consumers. The U.S. Copyright Office will then create a database of the information. Failure to comply will result in a fine of $5,000.

“AI has the disruptive potential of changing our economy, our political system, and our day-to-day lives,” Schiff said in a statement. “We must balance the immense potential of AI with the crucial need for ethical guidelines and protections.”

The legislation may face an uphill climb to passage in the Senate. This is at least partially due to uncertainty around whether training AI systems using copyrighted works violates intellectual property laws. Courts are wrestling with lawsuits filed by authors, artists and music publishers, but it could take years to resolve.

The bill will also likely meet opposition from AI companies, which maintain that they surrender a competitive advantage by disclosing training datasets. OpenAI turned to no longer revealing information about the sources of its dataset last year, “[g]iven both the competitive landscape and the safety implications of large-scale models like GPT-4.”

In a statement, SAG-AFTRA executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that “everything generated by AI ultimately originates from a human creative source” and that “human creative content — intellectual property — must be protected.”

The full list of endorsements is below:

— “Any effective regulatory regime for AI must start with one of the most fundamental building blocks of effective enforcement of creators’ rights — comprehensive and transparent recordkeeping. RIAA applauds Congressman Schiff for leading on this urgent and foundational issue,” said Ken Doroshow, chief legal officer, Recording Industry Association of America.

— “Professional Photographers of America and its 35,000 members strongly support this bill. Photographers are particularly susceptible to having their works scraped by generative AI companies, as they must publicly exhibit their best work to attract clients. The urgency of this issue should not be understated as copyright holders suffer from the harsh reality of competing with their own works taken by generative AI companies to develop their systems,” said David Trust, CEO, Professional Photographers of America.

— “The Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act is an important piece of legislation that will ensure companies use this new and rapidly advancing technology in ethical and transparent ways. Given the scope and potential threat of AI, enforceable regulations are urgently needed to keep companies from implementing this technology in the shadows, without people’s consent or knowledge,” said Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, president, Writers Guild of America East.

— “Without transparency around the use of copyrighted works in training artificial intelligence, creators will never be fairly compensated and AI tech companies will continue stealing from songwriters. This bill is an important step toward ensuring that the law puts humans first, and we thank Congressman Schiff for his leadership,” said Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, ASCAP.

— “Protecting the work of music creators is essential, and this all begins with transparency and tracking the use of copyrighted materials in generative AI. BMAC hopes Rep. Schiff’s Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act helps garner support for this mission and that author and creator rights continue to be protected and preserved,” said Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, co-chair, Black Music Action Coalition.

— “Congressman Schiff’s proposal is a big step forward towards responsible AI that partners with artists and creators instead of exploiting them. AI companies should stop hiding the ball when they copy creative works into AI systems and embrace clear rules of the road for recordkeeping that create a level and transparent playing field for the development and licensing of genuinely innovative applications and tools,” said Dr. Moiya McTier, senior advisor, Human Artistry Campaign.

Latest article