Several authors are suing the companies making the chatbots marketed as “AI” for using their copyrighted material without permission to create that software. I don’t know if this litigation will be successful, but I know that it should be.
We are all entitled to read books and learn from them. However, if I want to use an idea from someone’s book in my own work, I have to give them credit.
This is why we have footnotes and bibliographies in nonfiction. This is why we credit lines of poetry or songs by other people in stories. And this is why you have to pay the creator if you’re going to do more than use a small amount of their work and point people to the original.
Someone did a lot of work to create that story or essay or poem or song or whatever material you’re referring to. They deserve credit and if you’re going to use a whole lot of what they did, they deserve to be paid.
It’s very simple.
One of the many real issues with the large language model chatbots is that they were developed using materials available online, both pictures and words, but the developers refuse to tell us what materials were used. They claim it’s proprietary.
But it’s very obvious that they are using stories and art created by specific people, because if you ask one of those bots to draw you a picture in the style of a specific artist or to write a story in the style of a specific writer, they can do it.
It’s not just famous writers and artists either, much less people who are long dead and whose work is out of copyright. Several of my friends have tried it and had it create works that sound plausibly similar to their own.
If software can “write” a story that sounds like something I would do, they must have incorporated my work into their database. That, to me, is the equivalent of stealing my work and publishing it as your own.
I don’t know if the interpreters of copyright law will agree, but it’s certainly worth trying.
I note that the chatbot companies say they are “training” the bots on this material, but that word would only be appropriate if the bots were, in fact, some kind of intelligent being. They’re not. They’re a repository of data that has been developed to regurgitate information with simple prompts. Continue reading “Keep Your Grubby Bots Off My Work”…