Hausfeld Assists Artists Calling for Safeguards Around Generative AI

On April 19, 2023, a coalition representing more than 140,000 authors and performers submitted an open letter to EU lawmakers outlining their concerns about the loss of control over their intellectual property following the rise of generative AI, technology such as ChatGPT that generates texts, videos, images and other output in return of a prompt. The “Authors’ Rights Initiative” comprises 43 trade unions and associations representing photographers, designers, journalists, illustrators, musicians, game designers and other creatives.

Hausfeld’s German Digital Markets team, led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Höppner, has been working with the coalition to address the threats posed by generative AI to artists and society at large. The work includes a position paper on the threats posed by such technology and corresponding policy recommendations, in particular on the envisaged European AI Act.

“The output of AI systems depends on the input they are trained with; this includes texts, images, videos and other material from authors, performers and other copyright holders: Our entire digital repertoire serves training purposes, often without consent, without remuneration and not always for legitimate uses. The unauthorized usage of protected training material, its non-transparent processing, and the foreseeable substitution of the sources by the output of generative AI raise fundamental questions of accountability, liability and remuneration, which need to be addressed before irreversible harm occurs”, the letter states.

The 140,000 authors and performers represented by these trade unions and associations demand that the entry of large AI foundation models on European markets must be conditioned on the fulfillment of some minimum safety requirements, including the respect of existing fundamental rights, such as copyright and privacy legislation.

Read the letter here