Schiff unveils AI training transparency measure

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) unveiled legislation on Tuesday that would require companies using copyrighted material to train their generative artificial intelligence models to publicly disclose all of the work that they used to do so.

The bill, called the “Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act,” would require people creating training datasets – or making any significant changes to a dataset – to submit a notice to the Register of Copyrights with a “detailed summary of any copyrighted works used” and the URL for any publicly available material.

The bill would require the notice be filed no later than 30 days after the AI system is available to the public for use. It would also apply retroactively to AI systems already publicly available, and they would have 30 days to submit the notice once the bill goes into effect.

The Register of Copyrights would then publish an online database available to the public with all the notices.

In a statement, Schiff described the legislation as striking the appropriate balance between supporting innovation and respecting creativity.

“AI has the disruptive potential of changing our economy, our political system, and our day-to-day lives. We must balance the immense potential of AI with the crucial need for ethical guidelines and protections,” Schiff said in the statement. “My Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act is a pivotal step in this direction.”

“It champions innovation while safeguarding the rights and contributions of creators, ensuring they are aware when their work contributes to AI training datasets,” Schiff added. “This is about respecting creativity in the age of AI and marrying technological progress with fairness.”

The bill comes amid heightened concerns about the negative effects that AI could have on artists and content creators, whose work is often used in creating the generative AI systems.

Last week, more than 200 artists – including Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj and the Jonas Brothers – penned an open letter calling for tech companies, AI developers and digital music services to stop using AI over concerns of its impact on artists and songwriters.

They slammed “some of the biggest and most powerful companies” as using artists’ work without their permission to train AI models and create AI-generated sounds that would “substantially dilute the royalty pools” paid to artists.

“Make no mistake: we believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity and in a manner that enables the development and growth of new and exciting experiences for music fans everywhere,” the letter read.

They added, however, “When used irresponsibly, AI poses enormous threats to our ability to protect our privacy, our identities, our music and our livelihoods.”

That letter also followed growing concern about AI’s impact on actors and artists. In Hollywood, both the SAG-AFTRA union, which represents actors, and the Writers Guild of America, which represents writers, fought and won protections from AI for their unions during contract negotiations last year.

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