AI Companies Would Have to Fess Up on What They Use to Train AI Under Proposed Law

Mike Powers
AI Companies Would Have to Fess Up on What They Use to Train AI Under Proposed Law

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, proposed a new bill on Tuesday that would force AI companies to disclose what data was used to train their models. And while it’s already being celebrated by major players in the entertainment industry, it’s almost certainly going to upset big AI companies like OpenAI, which is being sued by the New York Times for copyright infringement.

Officially known as the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act, the proposed legislation would require that any AI company submit paperwork to the U.S. Copyright Office before the release of any new generative AI system in order to explain what copyrighted works were used to build its system.

Companies that have released generative AI products like ChatGPT and image generators like Midjourney have come under fire for using copyrighted works to train their models. The AI companies argue it’s all legal under the Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law, but the rights holders say it’s a violation of their intellectual property rights. And some politicians seem to agree strongly with the rights holders.

“We must balance the immense potential of AI with the crucial need for ethical guidelines and protections,” Rep. Schiff said Tuesday in a statement posted to his website announcing the new legislation.

“My Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act is a pivotal step in this direction,” Schiff continued. “It champions innovation while safeguarding the rights and contributions of creators, ensuring they are aware when their work contributes to AI training datasets. This is about respecting creativity in the age of AI and marrying technological progress with fairness.”

The statement published on Schiff’s site is notable for its long list of quotes from people in the entertainment and media industries. In fact, the list of endorsements is so long, it’s worth quoting in full just to give you an idea of how much support Schiff has garnered among copyright holders.

The list of supporters from Schiff’s website:

  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • Copyright Clearance Center
  • Directors Guild of America
  • Authors Guild
  • National Association of Voice Actors
  • Concept Art Association
  • Professional Photographers of America
  • Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
  • Writers Guild of America West
  • Writers Guild of America East
  • American Society of Composers
  • Authors and Publishers
  • American Society for Collective Rights Licensing
  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees
  • Society of Composers and Lyricists
  • National Music Publishers Association
  • Recording Academy
  • Nashville Songwriters Association International
  • Songwriters of North America
  • Black Music Action Coalition
  • Music Artist Coalition
  • Human Artistry Campaign
  • American Association of Independent Music

It should probably be noted that Writers Guild of America East is on the list, the union that represents Gizmodo writers, though your humble blogger admittedly didn’t hear about the endorsement until reading about it in Schiff’s press release.

Schiff represents California’s 30th congressional district in the U.S. House but is running to be a U.S. Senator for California, vying for Dianne Feinstein’s old seat. Feinstein died in late 2023 and Schiff is the favorite to win in November, with his challenger being Steve Garvey, a Republican best known for being a former professional baseball player. California hasn’t had a Republican senator since 1992.

OpenAI didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed overnight. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

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