European publishing trade bodies have issued a collective call to the European Union, emphasizing the importance of transparency in artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the book industry and democracy. The push for AI transparency aligns with the ongoing debate on copyright issues and responsible AI use.
The European Writers’ Council, the Federation of European Publishers, and the European and International Booksellers Federation are urging EU co-legislators to take action under the EU's AI Act. The AI Act classifies AI systems based on the risks they pose to users and applies regulation accordingly.
The trade bodies stress the need for transparency in generative AI to make it safer for European citizens. They argue that generative AI models have been developed in an opaque and unfair manner, often using copyrighted books without permission from authors or publishers.
The organizations argue that the illegal use of copyright-protected content in AI development negatively impacts rightsholders. Additionally, they warn that it can lead to the creation of misleading, biased, and potentially dangerous content that threatens democracy.
The AI Act, set to be finalized by the end of the year, represents the EU's first comprehensive legal framework for AI regulation. It classifies AI systems into four groups based on the risks they pose to users. For foundation models that underpin generative AI tools, the act would require companies to disclose data sources used for training.
The trade bodies view the proposed requirement for data source disclosure as a positive first step. They call on member states and the Commission to further enhance the proposal to prevent illegal sourcing and data-laundering abuses in generative AI development.
Transparency, according to the trade bodies, is essential for fostering a fair and safe AI ecosystem and ensuring the quality and legitimacy of AI outputs. They argue that meaningful transparency obligations, such as allowing rightsholders to assess whether their work was used, are technologically simple to implement and urgently needed.
The call for AI transparency by European publishing trade bodies highlights the evolving landscape of AI regulation, copyright protection, and the ethical use of AI in content generation. It reflects a broader global conversation on the responsible and legal development of AI models.
As the EU contemplates the regulation of AI and the protection of rightsholders, this collective call serves as a testament to the ongoing dialogue on AI's role in the book industry and its impact on intellectual property rights.