How Publishers Are Expected to Work With AI Firms in 2024


The ongoing battle between artificial intelligence models and publishers is not an even playing field, and media outlets with high-quality data are in the spotlight as AI firms eye lucrative deals to elevate their large language models and capabilities.

However, more lawsuits are coming down the pike in 2024, potentially overshadowing the influence of regulations, representing the next frontier of publishers’ thorny relationship with tech platforms.

The New York Times is suing OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that the “widescale copying” conducted by their AI systems amounts to copyright infringement. The legal action followed months of unsuccessful negotiations between all companies, with the publisher aiming to “ensure [that The New York Times] received fair value for the use of its content,” as outlined in the lawsuit.

This underscores the intricate challenges that may emerge when anticipated deals—such as those struck by other publishers like Axel Springer and the Associated Press—fail to materialize as planned.

“Most publishers will try to get some sort of agreement [with AI firms],” said Yoram Wurmser, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “If they don’t, they may end up in court. I expect to see a ton of lawsuits until these data issues [such as fair use] are clarified within regulations.”

The mounting uncertainty surrounding generative AI has prompted publishers to ink new deals with AI companies, like AP and OpenAI, granting them access to publishers’ contemporaneous data in exchange for payment. The data owned by premium publishers trains LLMs and dictates the quality of these models. Consequently, AI firms are in a race to establish dominance in the market, ultimately amplifying the negotiating leverage of premium publishers.

“There is a need to access very high-quality data to maintain [OpenAI’s] position as the top contender in the foundational model space,” said Katie Gardner, partner at law firm Gunderson Dettmer. “Entering into multiple deals at least reduces the potential number of plaintiffs against an AI company.”

Premium news outlets with large subscription bases, such as The New York Times, house a wealth of data points—including exclusive content, op-eds and analysis—that factor into financial compensation when brokering deals. However, should deals crumble, and publishers opt for legal action, they have a little leverage.

The Times has not demanded a specific amount of damages, but it “seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages,” per the lawsuit.

1 2Next page

Related Articles

Back to top button