[Press release] Book publishers welcome the adoption of the AI Act but call for more transparency on generative AI

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) welcomes the vote on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act today by the European Parliament. While AI offers great opportunities, including for the publishing industry, it also raises serious concerns, particularly in the field of copyright and transparency. The AI Act marks the first attempt in the world to define dedicated rules for AI, to ensure that this technology can develop without harming society.

FEP particularly welcomes the decision of the European Parliament to tackle the rising issue of generative AI, such as ChatGPT, which has gained significant attention the past few months. The developers of this type of AI use vast quantities of content, including copyright protected books and articles, to train their applications and allow them to generate “new” content. The copyright-protected content used for the training is often accessed and used without the knowledge or consent of their rightholders, and even through illegal websites.

Generative AI is a black-box that does not allow rightholders to know whether their works have been used without authorisation, even if they exercised their right to opt-out. The rights and future works of authors are also put at risk by AI-generated content mimicking their style. Finally, consumers could be misled into thinking that an AI-generated content is a genuine creative work from a human author.

The Parliament recognised the seriousness of the issue by creating specific obligations for generative AI and underlining the requirement to respect copyright, which includes the possibility for rightholders to opt-out from text and data mining under the 2019 DSM Directive. While this is a positive first step, further improvements are necessary to ensure training dataset transparency, as a mere “detailed summary” would not allow rightholders to protect their rights.

Ricardo Levi, President of FEP, declared “today, the European Parliament showed the way by deciding to tackle the challenge of generative AI. Now we call the co-legislators to show ambition in the trilogue negotiations to prevent any risk of ‘data laundering’. Providers of generative AI must grant access to the detailed list of books and articles they used for training and information about where they were collected. Without meaningful transparency, our rights will become purely virtual, to the sole benefit of big technological players and to the detriment cultural diversity and society”.

For more information contact:
Quentin Deschandelliers, FEP Legal Advisor
+32 2 776 84 63

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