Google Urges Australian Authorities to Revise Copyright Laws for AI Training

In a recent appeal to Australian authorities, Google has called for a change in copyright laws to allow artificial intelligence (AI) systems to train on online content. However, the company has also proposed that companies should have the option to avoid being scraped by AI. While Google’s proposal aims to advance AI technology, experts are concerned that it could negatively impact smaller online creators and undermine human intellectual property.

The search engine giant is expected to discuss this proposed revision with Australian authorities, but its implications could soon extend beyond the country’s borders. The issue at hand is whether AI systems should be permitted to use copyrighted content without explicit consent, sparking a debate over the rights of artists, writers, and other creative individuals who fear being replaced by AI-generated content.

Specifically, Google has requested that policymakers promote copyright systems that enable fair and appropriate use of copyrighted content for AI training. The company recognizes that existing controls for web publishers were developed before the emergence of AI and research use cases. As a result, it has suggested the need for new protocols to address the training of AI models, and it has called for public discourse to gather input from various stakeholders.

However, some legal experts have raised concerns about potential copyright violations in AI training. Dr. Kayleen Manwaring, a senior lecturer at UNSW Law and Justice, explains that AI systems typically require millions of data points, potentially leading to a breach of copyright. She argues that obtaining consent from copyright owners, rather than relying on opt-out arrangements, should be the norm.

Google’s involvement with AI-generated media extends beyond AI training. The company has been in discussions with record labels about licensing artists’ voices and music for use in AI-generated songs. However, major music labels such as Universal and Warner Music have expressed concerns about potentially infringing on artists’ intellectual property rights.

Universal Music’s general counsel, Jeffrey Harleston, argues that an artist’s voice is a significant part of their livelihood and public persona and should not be stolen, regardless of the means employed. On the other hand, Warner Music CEO Robert Kyncl suggests that a framework could be established to enable fans to pay artists for AI-generated content that features their voices.

The issue of AI’s impact on creative industries is not limited to music. Hollywood writers have staged protests against attempts to replace them with AI tools. SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher recently delivered a passionate speech announcing an actor-writer strike, highlighting the changing dynamics of the industry due to streaming, digital platforms, and AI.

In conclusion, Google’s appeal to Australian authorities for a revision of copyright laws to facilitate AI training could have far-reaching implications for copyright worldwide. The rapid advancement of AI technology requires a careful balance between promoting innovation and protecting intellectual property. The ongoing discussion underscores the need to seek a solution that supports creators’ rights while embracing the potential of AI.


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