The Authors Guild published an open letter demanding from AI companies fair compensation for the unlicensed use of their members’ writings to train AI and generate output. More than 8,000 authors signed the letter, which states in part:
We understand that many of the books used to develop AI systems originated from notorious piracy websites. Not only does the recent Supreme Court decision in Warhol v. Goldsmith make clear that the high commerciality of your use argues against fair use, but no court would excuse copying illegally sourced works as fair use. As a result of embedding our writings in your systems, generative AI threatens to damage our profession by flooding the market with mediocre, machine-written books, stories, and journalism based on our work. In the past decade or so, authors have experienced a forty percent decline in income, and the current median income for full-time writers in 2022 was only $23,000. The introduction of AI threatens to tip the scale to make it even more difficult, if not impossible, for writers—especially young writers and voices from under-represented communities—to earn a living from their profession.
We ask you, the leaders of AI, to mitigate the damage to our profession by taking the following steps:
1. Obtain permission for use of our copyrighted material in your generative AI programs.
2. Compensate writers fairly for the past and ongoing use of our works in your generative AI programs.
3. Compensate writers fairly for the use of our works in AI output, whether or not the outputs are infringing under current law.