You are currently viewing Is everything on the internet Free ? The Controversy Over AI Training and Fair Use

Recently, Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Microsoft’s AI division, sparked significant debate by labeling web content as “freeware” suitable for AI companies to use for training their models under the principle of fair use. In an interview with NBC News at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Suleyman argued that the social contract for content on the open web, established since the 90s, treats it as fair use. According to him, this implies that anyone can copy, recreate, or reproduce such content, framing it as “freeware” by general understanding. Suleyman’s interview has drawn considerable criticism and have gone viral on social media.

In the context of AI, fair use is a contentious topic. Fair use traditionally covers activities such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Proponents argue that using web content to train AI models falls under these categories because it constitutes transformative use. It refers to creating something new with a different purpose or character altering the original work in such a way that it adds new meaning.  AI training, transforms raw data into models that can perform a wide range of tasks, from language translation to image recognition, thus benefiting society as a whole. However, this dispute is not merely theoretical; lawsuits are being filed against big companies like Microsoft by content creators, from newspapers to single authors, who claim their work is unlawfully utilized to train AI models like Copilot and ChatGPT.

Suleyman’s viewpoint might appear practical in the context of AI advancement, but it raises important questions about the future of content creation. If everything on the internet is free for AI training, why would creators continue generating original work? There is a growing concern that this could lead to a future where creating content is no longer seen as valuable, affecting the variety and quality of what we find online. Additionally, Suleyman forecasts a time when AI could make the cost of creating new knowledge almost zero, envisioning an open-source and globally available information base. While idealistic, this vision threatens creators’ livelihoods. The challenge is to strike a balance that fosters innovation without undermining the rights and rewards for content makers. As these legal battles unfold, it is clear that the conversation about AI and copyright law is ongoing, with existing legal and ethical frameworks struggling to keep pace with technological advancements.

 

 

 

Source : 

Collins, B. (2024, July 2). Has Microsoft’s AI chief just made Windows free? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/barrycollins/2024/07/01/has-microsofts-ai-chief-just-made-windows-free/

Floare, F. (2024, July 2). Microsoft AI CEO, Mustafa Suleyman, says everything you post on the Internet should be used to train AI. Windows Report. https://windowsreport.com/microsoft-ai-ceo-mustafa-suleyman-says-everything-you-post-on-the-internet-should-be-used-to-train-ai/

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