Let’s build a world-class AI that respects literary and artistic property rights

Let’s build a world-class AI that respects literary and artistic property rights

In a letter signed by 70 professional organisations in France, including CEPIC’s members the UPP and SAPHIR, the creative industry has, in the context of the Trilogue on the draft European Regulation on artificial intelligence, the AI Act, turned to the French Prime Minister , Élysabeth Borne, calling for France’s strong commitment on behalf of the cultural and creative sector.

France, which has traditionally been a strong voice for the creative industry in Brussels, has recently expressed reservations about the introduction of transparency obligations in the AI Act. This approach, understandable on the surface and in the ignorance of facts, would be damaging for the future of creation, and for the acceptance and innovation in artificial intelligence.

The AI Act is a unique chance to have some regulation around AI. Worldwide. It is essential to push further, at national level with own government, and in Brussels towards the AI Act negotiators to have transparency obligations implemented, in the input and in the output data, for the enforcement of positive law.

The letter is translated here:

Madame la Première ministre,

With the creation of the Artificial Generative Intelligence Committee, you have sent out a message that we share: AI will have a profound impact on our societies, their organisation and our economies. In fact, the cultural and creative industries, which today account for 4.4% of GDP and more than 7.5 million jobs in the European Union[1], have always been built on technical and technological developments and continue to do so, AI being no exception.

Our motivation and vision that we are bring to you to you is as much a matter of urgency as of responsibility: the rapid development of AI tools calls for the adoption of a framework guaranteeing real transparency on the works and content used to train the machines. Following the example of platform regulation with the texts successively adopted since 2018, France and Europe now have the opportunity to propose a balanced regulatory framework for these new services through the draft regulation on AI.

We warmly welcome the introduction in this text of specific provisions on generative AI by the European Parliament. We call on France to firmly support this principle of transparency in the context of the Trilogue, working to preserve and perfect the contributions of Article 28b(4) rather than coalescing some of the Member States against this article, which establishes a framework for AI foundation models.

Generative artificial intelligence (GAI) only exists if it can feed itself. Cultural content and the personalities of artists are essential in this respect. However, the vast majority of these high value-added resources are protected under personal data regulations, on the one hand, and under copyright and related rights, on the other, which enhance and protect the moral and proprietary interests of creators and publishers while securing the heavy investment they underpin.

For several years now, GenAI foundation models such as ChatGPT have been using vast quantities of protected works, whether music, photographs, literary or press content, to drive their applications and generate new content. Examples of these uses include the reproduction of entire passages from copyrighted works such as “Harry Potter”, the production of new works in the style of an artist, such as Drake & The Weeknd, Angèle, Johnny Hallyday, to name the most visible examples, or the reproduction of press publications protected by copyright and neighbouring rights. Alternative and potentially competing content is thus made available to the public, without the GenAI organisation providing the foundation model concerned having had to make the investments necessary for in literary and artistic creation.

In fact, these GenAI foundation models constitute a kind of “black box” that does not allow authors, their representatives and customers to know whether their works have been used, on what date they have become part of the dataset feeding the AI and therefore whether their intellectual property rights have been respected. On the contrary, it is very likely that AI training has been carried out for more than a decade without the agreement of rights holders.

As positive as the transparency requirement for generative AI introduced by the European Parliament last May in the form of a “summary of uses concerning copyrighted works” may be, they are still woefully inadequate. It is therefore essential to strengthen them. In order to avoid “data laundering”, and to ensure that rightholders are fairly remunerated, we would like Article 28b(4) to impose the principle of total transparency through a detailed list of works used by GenAI foundation models and their sources, and this list must be made available to rightholders.

The “little tune” according to which the transparency demanded by our sectors would cause us to miss the AI turn is misleading: access to sources and the conservation of training information are simple to put in place for an AI developer and constitute the prerequisite for a virtuous relationship with rights holders.

The question therefore is not to create new intellectual property rules, but to ensure that our rights are effectively enforced (particularly in the event of illegal use, failure to take account of a possible ‘opt-out’ or the takeover by commercial entities of projects initiated for research purposes), and the capabillity of being involved tomorrow in sharing the value created from our works, our articles and our content.

Without such a rebalancing of the situation, there is a great risk of once again pitting cultural and digital players against each other, even though they now belong to the same economic ecosystem. We are convinced that the development of a world-class AI industry must go hand in hand with the development of creative talents. It is the coming together of cultural and technological innovations that will open up the potential for growth. Transparency is just one of the prerequisites.

The voice of the French government is always listened to and often heard when it comes to reconciling the development of digital technology with the protection of the creative and cultural sectors. At a time when protagonists in the creative sector are continuing to mount protests around the world, including in the courts, France must once again be at the forefront. In view of their impact on our activities, the transparency obligations that we are promoting, and which are the subject of a very broad consensus within our industries, are essential, and they need to start now.

Counting on your sympathetic reading and your commitment to defending and promoting a French ambition for creation in the digital age, we request an exchange without delay and ask you to accept, Madam Prime Minister, the assurance of our highest consideration.”.

 To read the text in pdf format, click here.

AI ACT : construisons maintenant une IA de rang mondial respectueuse de la propriété littéraire et artistique – Syndicat National des Auteurs et des Compositeurs (snac.fr)