German creatives need the EU to handle copyright considerations at ChatGPT

ChatGPT had anything but a triumphant welcome tour of Europe. Following grumbling regulators in Italy And the European Parliamentit is the turn of German trade unions to express their concerns about possible copyright infringement.

No fewer than 42 trade organizations representing over 140,000 authors and performers in the country have signed a letter calling on the EU to introduce strict rules on AI’s use of copyrighted material.

As first reported by Reutersthe letter, which underscores the growing concerns over copyright and privacy issues arising from the material used to train the Large Language Model (LLM), states,

“The unauthorized use of proprietary training material, its non-transparent processing and the predictable substitution of the sources with the results of generative AI raise fundamental questions of accountability, liability and compensation that must be addressed before irreversible damage occurs.”

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Signatories are the major German trade unions Verdi and DGB as well as other associations for photographers, designers, journalists and illustrators. The authors of the letter further added that

“Generative AI must be at the heart of any meaningful AI market regulation.”

ChatGPT is not the only target of copyright disputes. In January, visual media company Getty Images filed a copyright lawsuit against Stability AI. According to the lawsuit, the developer of the imaging tool allegedly copied over 12 million photos, captions, and metadata without permission.

LLM training offers diminishing returns

The arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has sparked a flood of concerns. These have so far covered everything from aggressive development due to a commercially motivated AI “arms race” to privacy, data protection and copyright issues. The latest model, GPT-4, has been trained on over a trillion words.

One of the originators of the controversy, the company’s CEO Sam Altman, said last week that the Amplified Machine Learning strategy behind ChatGPT has had its day. In fact, OpenAI predicts diminishing returns as the model size scales. The company trained its latest model, GPT-4, with over a trillion words at a cost of about $100 million.

At the same time, the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act is nearing its home stretch. While it may well set a global regulatory standard, how well can it adapt as developers find other new and innovative ways to make algorithms more efficient.

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