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Tech companies battle content creators over use of copyrighted material to train AI models

Canadian creators and publishers want the government to do something about the unauthorized and usually unreported use of their content to train generative artificial intelligence systems.

But AI companies maintain that using the material to train their systems doesn't violate copyright, and say limiting its use would stymie the development of AI in Canada.

The two sides are making their cases in recently published submissions to a consultation on copyright and AI being undertaken by the federal government as it considers how Canada's copyright laws should address the emergence of generative AI systems like OpenAI's ChatGPT.

Generative AI can create text, images, videos and computer code based on a simple prompt, but to do that, the systems must first study vast amounts of existing content.

In its submission to the government, Access Copyright argued most and potentially all large language models «are currently profiting from unauthorized use and reproduction of copyright protected works.»

Creators angry over copyright 'black box'

It's taking place in a «black box,» according to Access Copyright, which represents writers, visual artists and publishers.

«Rightsholders know it is happening, but due to the information asymmetry between themselves and AI platforms, they cannot determine who is conducting the activity, with whose works, and have no mechanism to stop it from happening.»

Music Canada, which represents the country's major record labels, said last year, a fake AI-generated song mimicking the voices of Drake and The Weeknd «made one thing abundantly clear: AI models and systems have already ingested massive amounts of proprietary datasets without authorization from the source of the data or rightsholders.»

The Writers'

Read more on cbc.ca