Rod Sims, the former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said that generative AI writing tools such as Google’s Bard and ChatGPT should pay news sites they have scraped for data.
Sims oversaw the creation of the news media bargaining code that saw big tech platforms such as Google and Facebook, be mandated to strike deals with online publishers in return for accessing their content.
“The logic is the same,” Sims told the Australian Financial Review.
“The media companies cannot successfully bargain with the generative AI companies, just as they couldn’t bargain with Google and Facebook.
“If media companies are having their content out in the public but not getting compensated for it, you are under-provisioning for journalism and that’s bad for society. We don’t want anything that sees journalism getting unrewarded for what they’re doing.”
The news media bargaining code was introduced two years ago and has handed over more than $200 million from tech platforms to publishers since its introduction. Media companies have also called for TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, to be added to the code and forced to negotiate with publishers.
“These [AI] players weren’t around when we did the news media bargaining code, but I think it’s a big issue that will arise firstly as the deals in Australia get renegotiated,” Sims added.
He also added that getting AI platforms added to the code wouldn’t be “that hard a hurdle to jump” as there are only “two or three of these companies.”
Sims is not the only person calling for AI to pay media companies. News Corp chief exec Robert Thomson has said that AI firms are “clearly” using proprietary content to train their models and that “There should obviously be some compensation for that. The more specialist the AI gets, for example, in business, they’re obviously using Dow Jones content.”
However, News Corp Australia has also set up an AI working group, encouraging employees and journalists to experiment with using ChatGPT as part of their jobs.
Elon Musk has also threatened to sue Microsoft for its use of Twitter’s information to train its Bing AI models.
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