“Please regulate AI:” Artists push for U.S. copyright reforms but tech industry says not so fast – The Denver Post


File – Actor and filmmaker Justine Bateman, right, speaks outside Netflix during a Writers Guild rally on July 13, 2023, in Los Angeles. Bateman said she was disturbed that AI models were “ingesting 100 years of film” and TV in a way that could destroy the structure of the film business and replace large portions of its labor pipeline. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

By MATT O’BRIEN, AP Technology Writer

Country singers, romance novelists, video game artists and voice actors are appealing to the U.S. government for relief — as soon as possible — from the threat that artificial intelligence poses to their livelihoods.

“Please regulate AI. I’m scared,” wrote a podcaster concerned about his voice being replicated by AI in one of thousands of letters recently submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Technology companies, by contrast, are largely happy with the status quo that has enabled them to gobble up published works to make their AI systems better at mimicking what humans do.

The nation’s top copyright official hasn’t yet taken sides. She told The Associated Press she’s listening to everyone as her office weighs whether copyright reforms are needed for a new era of generative AI tools that can spit out compelling imagery, music, video and passages of text.

“We’ve received close to 10,000 comments,” said Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. register of copyrights, in an interview. “Every one of them is being read by a human being, not a computer. And I myself am reading a large part of them.”


Perlmutter directs the U.S. Copyright Office, which registered more than 480,000 copyrights last year covering millions of individual works but is increasingly being asked to register works that are AI-generated. So far, copyright claims for fully machine-generated content have been soundly rejected because copyright laws are designed to protect works of human authorship.

But, Perlmutter asks, as humans feed content into AI systems and give instructions to influence what comes out, “is there a point at which there’s enough human involvement in controlling the expressive elements of the output that the human can be considered to have contributed authorship?”

That’s one question the Copyright Office has put to the public. A bigger one — the question that’s fielded thousands of comments from creative professions — is what to do about copyrighted human works that are being pulled from the internet and other sources and ingested to train AI systems, often without permission or compensation.

More than 9,700 comments were sent to the Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress, before an initial comment period closed in late October. Another round of comments is due by Dec. 6. After that, Perlmutter’s office will work to advise Congress and others on whether reforms are needed.


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