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UK House of Lords warn of copyright plunder by AI firms
Wed, 7th Feb 2024

Artificial intelligence (AI) firms are illicitly appropriating copyrighted material from creatives, according to a warning from a United Kingdom House of Lords committee to UK ministers. Intended to help train their AI models, this violation has led to calls for an overhaul of the current copyright law.

The Lords committee highlighted that the problem has been exacerbated by the proliferation of AI technology, and that some tech enterprises are exploiting copyrighted content without permission, consequently reaping substantial financial gains. Critics argue that the current legal framework surrounding copyright is inadequate, as cases of content creators reporting their work being stolen to train large language models (LLMs) are on the rise. These tech companies rely on sizable data volumes from multiple sources to enhance their chatbots.

The committee has urged the government to take action, pointing out that current copyright laws are inadequate to ensure fair compensation for creators or to prevent their work from being used without consent. The situation also raises concerns about whether the current framework fosters innovation. The committee cautioned that the government cannot merely rely on the courts to solve this predicament.

John Kirk, Deputy CEO of Inspired Thinking Group, shared his thoughts on the issue: "AI is significantly impacting the creative industries, and the pace of its development and use does not indicate any slowdown. It is crucial to safeguard the intellectual property of all content creators, from independent artists to big brands. Without boarding the AI train, anyone is likely to be left behind. A robust governance model facilitating effective content operations would help alleviate risks and the resulting reluctance to integrate AI into everyday applications."

Kirk further emphasised the importance of embracing AI despite existing anxieties. He acknowledged that AI eases the pressure of content production due to rocketing demand. Collaborating with automation platforms can empower marketing creatives with innovative strategies for content delivery. Despite concerns, he believes that AI is not merely the future but the present of marketing and insists on its potential to revolutionise the creative industries.

The committee suggested that the government must scrutinise the current efficacy of copyright law and consider updating legislation if it fails to provide adequate protection to copyright holders. Echoing this sentiment, Sjuul van der Leeuw, CEO of Deployteq, a part of Inspired Thinking Group, stated: "The rapid evolution of AI over the past year has inevitably hit bumps in the road. It's critical to address issues such as AI copyright around trust and safety as they arise. Collaboration between government, regulators, and industry can ensure marketing creatives are supported when it comes to content creation."

Van der Leeuw also urged marketers to incorporate AI for boosting the efficiency of their operations, highlighting its role in crafting email marketing campaigns and analysing the first-party data compiled, ultimately saving enormous amounts of time whilst orchestrating more influential campaigns.

This warning follows after Getty Images CEO Craig Peters cautioned Chancellor Rishi Sunak against banking solely on AI's evolution, requesting more substantial support for creative industries in the wake of their media resources being poached by AI companies for training data.