Generative artificial intelligence technologies, such as ChatGPT and Midjourney, face a potential threat of legal action as companies aim to safeguard their copyrighted content from being used without permission to train AI chatbots. Recently, The New York Times filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, claiming that the large language model utilized millions of The New York Times articles for its training.
OpenAI recently informed the House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee in the UK that creating a top-notch large language model is “impossible” without incorporating copyrighted material. OpenAI stated that since copyright extends to various forms of human expression like blog posts, photos, forum posts, snippets of code, and government documents, it’s challenging to train today’s advanced AI models without utilizing copyrighted materials.
It’s not uncommon for copyright law to influence the course and progress of emerging technologies, and this legal structure has significantly steered the path of the internet in the last three decades.
However, what might be different this time, as suggested by Michael Sonnenshein, the CEO of Grayscale, is the potential for a solution to address this issue.
Blockchain Solutions for Fair Compensation and Ownership in AI
Sonnenshein recently shared that blockchain technology has the potential to create a more equitable system. This system could effectively monitor the ownership of copyrighted material in large language models and image generation platforms, ensuring fair compensation for the owners.
He emphasized the challenges that have arisen from AI, such as bias, deep fakes, and concerns about authenticity and ownership. According to Sonnenshein, using blockchain technology, which is the foundation of cryptocurrencies, is a clear and unchangeable solution to directly tackle these issues.
OpenAI is not the only entity dealing with legal issues related to the utilization of copyrighted material in its AI model development. Stability AI, a well-known AI image generation platform, faced a lawsuit from Getty Images last year over copyright infringement.
According to Sonnenshein, this is another problem that could potentially find a solution through blockchain technology.
Sonnenshein expressed, “When someone generates an image on Midjourney, determining ownership becomes a question. Where does it belong, and how will it be utilized? By programming certain outputs into tokens or connecting them to blockchain, issues like provenance, authenticity, and ownership can be swiftly resolved.”
Role of Blockchain in Transparency
The blockchain serves as a digital ledger, enabling transparent information sharing while making it nearly impossible for data to be tampered with or hacked. Originally powering bitcoin, blockchain technology has expanded into conventional sectors such as traditional finance and healthcare.
The blockchain has been praised as a solution to enhance transparency in various assets. Experts suggest that “tokenizing” items like real estate deeds, titles, artwork, and stocks could improve security and trust in different markets.
According to Sonnenshein, integrating blockchain into generative AI technologies is a logical step forward.
Sonnenshein noted, “I sense that crypto has been evolving as its own industry over the past decade. There haven’t been significant technological advancements that could align with it. Now, with the substantial attention, resources, and investment going into AI, there’s a noticeable symbiotic relationship between these two, indicating the potential for them to grow rapidly in tandem.”
Sonnenshein believes that the mutual relationship between these technologies should ultimately favor creators and pave the way for clear and fair compensation.
He expressed, “As we keep advancing these technologies, there will be programmable methods to guarantee proper compensation and acknowledgment for creators in the reproduction, licensing, and usage of various forms of creative work, from music to artwork.”
The link between AI and copyright challenges calls for creative solutions. Legal complexities and the use of blockchain offer ways to ensure fair payment and ownership in AI. As technology advances, working together could shape a future that recognizes and rewards creators in different creative fields.