News Corp in discussions with an AI firm over financial compensation

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News Corp’s Robert Thomson on AI systems: “clearly they are using proprietary content”

News Corp has laid down the law with AI firms, asserting their stance that they will need to pay news publishers for the right to use the technology on “proprietary” content, as reported by the AFR.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson revealed during a Morgan Stanley conference that the media company is in discussions with an unnamed AI firm about financial compensation.

Companies that run AI systems, such as Jasper and ChatGPT, are trained by scanning data to create answers that are asked by users.

Thomson said: “As these AI engines are being trained, and they’re using professional content to be more professional themselves – people certainly will talk about open source, but clearly they are using proprietary content.”

“There should obviously be some compensation for that. The more specialist the AI gets, for example, in business, they’re obviously using Dow Jones (publisher of the Wall Street Journal) content.”

Thomson also led the media industry’s charge to extract hundreds of millions of dollars in annual payments from companies like Google and Facebook and pointed out that the same principles apply with the current AI revolution.

“They would argue that by synthesising it – extracting the essence of the content – they’re providing a transformational service. We would argue that they wouldn’t be able to provide any service without our content.”

See also: Media code encouraged digital platforms to enter agreements with local outlets, review finds

Looking locally, Australia’s media bargaining code has been found to have encouraged digital platforms – Google and Facebook – to reach agreements with local media outlets.

The News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, a world‑first initiative, took effect on 3 March 2021.

The Code ensured the platforms paid large and small news publishers to display articles in the search engine and newsfeed.

The review examined the first year of the Code’s operation. It found that the Code has been successful to date with more than 30 commercial agreements made by Google and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, with a cross-section of Australian news businesses as a result of the Code.

The review noted a broad range of agreements with news businesses, both large and small, and in metropolitan and regional areas.

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