Certificates launch for copyright-compliant AI, but ChatGPT isn’t eligible

Key Takeaways:

– Fairly Trained is a new certificate initiative aimed at protecting creators from generative AI companies that use copyrighted content without consent or compensation.
– The initiative certifies companies that obtain a license for their training data, indicating which ones prioritize creator consent.
– The CEO of Fairly Trained, Ed Newton-Rex, resigned from Stability AI over their use of copyrighted content and created the initiative as an alternative model.
– The inaugural batch of certificates was awarded to nine GenAI organizations, mainly in the music industry.
– However, there is currently no major text generation model that could meet the certification requirements due to their reliance on copyrighted works.
– Companies like OpenAI argue that training AI models on copyrighted works is necessary and there is no way to circumvent copyright protections.
– Newton-Rex believes that language models can be trained on a small amount of data and licensed, offering an alternative approach.
– GenAI is seen as an existential threat to creative industries and human creativity.

The Next Web:

A new certificate for copyright-compliant AI aims to protect creators — but don’t expect ChatGPT to get the stamp of approval.

Named Fairly Trained, the initiative arrives amid a brewing backlash against generative AI companies. Many of their tools — from OpenAI’s chatbots to Stability AI’s art generators — are trained on copyrighted content that’s scraped from the web. Inspired by this data, the systems then deliver endless creations in response to prompts. Frequently, the outputs are clear derivations of their source material.

The practice has enraged creators and copyright-holders. They argue that their work is stolen and remixed without their consent and compensation. It’s hardly a controversial claim — GenAI leaders have admitted to the practice.

To justify the process, companies point to the “fair use” doctrine, which can allow transformative and socially beneficial use of copyrighted content.

That argument has sparked opprobrium. One of the most prominent critics is Fairly Trained’s CEO, Ed Newton-Rex. A musician and computational creativity pioneer, Newton-Rex attracted headlines in December after quitting his role at Stability AI over the startup’s use of copyrighted content. The 36-year-old raised concerns that the company was “exploiting creators.” 

Fairly Trained is his attempt to foster an alternative model. By certifying companies that get a license for their training data, the non-profit wants to create a fairer world for human creators.

The verification shows which companies consider creator consent to be important — and which ones don’t. Consumers can then make an informed decision on their use of GenAI.

“GenAI poses an existential threat to creative industries.

The idea emerged after Newton-Rex resigned from Stability AI. In the debates triggered by his departure, he realised that licensed GenAI tools needed more exposure.

“Both for ethical and legal reasons, there are a lot of people and companies who would rather use generative AI models that are that are trained on licenced data,” Newton-Rex told TNW. “You’ve got a bunch of people who want to use licenced models and you’ve got a bunch of people who are providing those. I didn’t see any way of being able to tell them apart.” 

Fairly Trained provides one way to differentiate them. The inaugural batch of certificates was awarded to nine GenAI organisations:  Beatoven.ai, Boomy, Bria AI, Endel, LifeScore, Rightsify, Somms.AI, Soundful, and Tuney. While the majority are music makers, image generators are also represented and other media formats are “on the way,” Newton-Rex said.

There is, however, one big gaping in the modalities: text. Newton Rex isn’t aware of any major text generation model that could currently get certified.

“I don’t know any that would pass the bar, because every large language model that I’ve come across has been trained on a huge amount of copyrighted work,” he said.

Credit: Ed Newton-Rex