A battle is brewing in the U.S. Copyright Office over artificial intelligence’s use of copyrighted material — and Big Tech is spending millions to ensure they win.

By Freddy Brewster, The Lever

Big Tech leaders are spending millions of dollars — and pushing dubious national security concerns — to try to prevent federal regulators from forcing them to pay for the copyrighted works their companies are using to train their AI systems.

man and robot shaking hands with coins stacked up representing increased profits

At issue is a new effort by the U.S. Copyright Office to consider how to apply U.S. copyright law to the nascent AI industry. The matter has triggered impassioned pushback from powerful tech interests who say they must have access to people’s hard work for free, or the future of their industry will be jeopardized.

The fight comes as artistsactorsnews organizations and others have sued AI companies using their work to train the emergent technology on how to create images in the style of certain artistsreplicate voices of singers, write new literature based on copyrighted works, and many other instances in which original work is being harvested off the internet free of charge.

As the AI industry is buffeted by executive shake ups and mounting concerns that AI systems are growing too powerful, Google, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, and Big Tech venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz have spent over $30 million lobbying lawmakers and regulators on AI and other tech-related issues.

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