Leading News Agencies Sign Open Letter for AI Content Regulation

Leading News Agencies Sign Open Letter for AI Content Regulation

The world’s leading news agencies have signed an open letter that seeks a relook into regulations around the use of AI in journalism while calling for transparency and clear copyright laws.

The letter was signed by organizations like Getty Images, News Media alliance – which has almost 2 000 publications in the US, the European Publishers’ Council, Associated Press (AP), Agance France-Press (AFP), and the National Press Photographers Association among others.

These organizations are calling for the respect of intellectual property rights by AI firms.

Public trust at stake

While generative AI technology has been praised for its potential benefits to society, the same has its downside. It has resulted in the flooding of “synthetic content” into the public, which the news agencies feel will compromise the public’s trust in the media sector.

Titled ‘Preserving Public Trust In the Media through Unified AI Regulation and Practices,’ the letter indicates that AI, good as it may, also has the potential to threaten the “sustainability of the media ecosystem.” According to Verdict, AI content “corroding readers’ trust in the quality and truthfulness of news writing.”

“Large language models make it possible for any actor to produce and distribute synthetic content at a scale that far exceeds our past experience,” reads part of the letter.

This comes as AI-generated content is increasing on online news platforms. In May, reports showed that content from almost 50 online news sites was nearly all AI-generated. Yet a recent study has also revealed that audiences are inclined to believe disinformation generated by AI more than what’s originally generated by a human.

The study showed that people were 3% less likely to spot false tweets generated by AI than those by humans. Giovanni Spitale, a researcher at the University of Zurich who led the study said the margin could be bigger if they were to repeat the study with the latest LLM models like ChatGPT-4.

“The fact that AI-generated disinformation is not only cheaper and faster but also more effective gives me nightmares,” he said.

Laura Petron, a principal analyst at GlobalData also said that the use of generative AI in the media ecosystem has an impact on the future of the media profession as well as the quality of the writings.

“So it’s no surprise that news associations are coming together to express their concerns about the spread of AI-generated content in the media and lack of guardrails,” she said.

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Violation of copyright laws

The letter also calls for AI companies to get consent from intellectual property (IP) rights holders for the use of their content in training data outputs, highlighting the gross violation of copyright laws.

Already, some authors have slapped ChatGPT maker OpenAI with copyright lawsuits claiming the company used their work to train its chatbot without their consent. The company has however now signed a deal with AP to allow them to train their AI on AP’s archival news stories.

According to a Reuters report, this also comes as there has been a long-standing battle by news organizations to secure better deals with tech firms like Google and Meta Platforms, which fill their platforms with content from news media “without adequately sharing profits.”

“Generative AI and large language models … disseminate that content and information to their users, and often without any consideration of, remuneration to, or attribution to the original creators,” according to the letter.

“Such practices undermine the media industry’s core business models.”

Acknowledging AI benefits

The news agencies however acknowledge the role of generative AI and its transformative ability and call for its responsible deployment.

“We look forward to being part of the solution to ensure that AI applications continue to prosper while respecting the rights of media companies and individual journalists who produce content that protects the truth and keeps our communities informed and engaged,” reads the letter.

The letter also calls for AI companies to take steps towards eliminating bias from their services, a call which has been made by lawmakers and regulators across the globe. In the US, these AI firms recently voluntarily committed to working towards removing bias of whatever form from their services.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.