Thousands of authors demand payment from AI companies for use of copyrighted works

WashingtonCNN — 

Thousands of published authors are requesting payment from tech companies for the use of their copyrighted works in training artificial intelligence tools, marking the latest intellectual property critique to target AI development.

The list of more than 8,000 authors includes some of the world’s most celebrated writers, including Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Franzen, James Patterson, Jodi Picoult and Philip Pullman, among others.

In an open letter they signed, posted by the Authors Guild Tuesday, the writers accused AI companies of unfairly profiting from their work.

“Millions of copyrighted books, articles, essays, and poetry provide the ‘food’ for AI systems, endless meals for which there has been no bill,” the letter said. “You’re spending billions of dollars to develop AI technology. It is only fair that you compensate us for using our writings, without which AI would be banal and extremely limited.”

Tuesday’s letter was addressed to the CEOs of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, Facebook-parent Meta, Google, Stability AI, IBM and Microsoft. Most of the companies didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Microsoft declined to comment.

Much of the tech industry is now working to develop AI tools that can generate compelling images and written work in response to user prompts. These tools are built on large language models, which are trained on vast troves of information online. But recently, there has been growing pressure on tech companies over alleged intellectual property violations with this training process.