| 30 November 2023, Thursday |

EU proposes new copyright rules for generative AI

Companies using generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, would be required to declare any copyrighted content used in the development of their systems, according to an early EU agreement that may pave the way for the world’s first comprehensive legislation controlling the technology.

Nearly two years ago, the European Commission began crafting the AI Act to govern new artificial intelligence technologies, which saw a surge in investment and popularity with the introduction of OpenAI’s AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT.

Members of the European Parliament agreed to push the draft through to the next stage, the trialogue, during which EU lawmakers and member states will thrash out the final details of the bill.

Under the proposals, AI tools will be classified according to their perceived risk level: from minimal through to limited, high, and unacceptable. Areas of concern could include biometric surveillance, spreading misinformation or discriminatory language.

While high-risk tools will not be banned, those using them will need to be highly transparent in their operations.

Companies deploying generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT or image generator Midjourney, will also have to disclose any copyrighted material used to develop their systems.

This provision was a late addition drawn up within the past two weeks, according to a source familiar with discussions. Some committee members initially proposed banning copyrighted material being used to train generative AI models altogether, the source said, but this was abandoned in favor of a transparency requirement.

“Against conservative wishes for more surveillance and leftist fantasies of over-regulation, parliament found a solid compromise that would regulate AI proportionately, protect citizens’ rights, as well as foster innovation and boost the economy,” said Svenja Hahn, a European Parliament deputy.

Macquarie analyst Fred Havemeyer said the EU’s proposal was “tactful” rather than a “ban first, and ask questions later” approach proposed by some.

“The EU has been on the frontier of regulating AI technology,” he told Reuters.

  • Reuters