AG in Action
December 8, 2023
On December 5, Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger participated in LiveWIRED, a one-day event in San Francisco marking WIRED magazine’s 30th anniversary with dozens of demos, panels, and more. The event brought together leaders from various fields to discuss technology’s impact on the world and future prospects. Rasenberger participated in a panel titled IP vs. AI, moderated by WIRED senior writer Kate Knibbs, delving into the copyright challenges posed by generative AI alongside the other panelists, Matthew Butterick and Mike Masnick.
Rasenberger expressed the Guild’s arguments against the notion of AI training as fair use, stating, “This is a highly commercial use, and the harm is very clear. It could really destroy the profession of writing.” She advocated for permission-based approaches and emphasized the significant commercial use of such technologies. The Authors Guild is working on a tool that will help generative AI companies pay to license its members’ works, and Rasenberger communicated the message that there are, in fact, ethical ways to “train” AI. Read more about the discussion here.
Our advocacy discussions also extended to other community groups within the country as well as across international borders. On November 23, Umair Kazi, the Guild’s director of advocacy and policy, spoke with the Writers’ Union of Canada about the state of and legal issues surrounding AI in writing. He was joined by Nicola Solomon, CEO of the U.K.’s Society of Authors, and John Degen, executive director of the Writers Union of Canada.
On November 12, Kevin Amer, chief legal officer of the Authors Guild, appeared on a panel titled A Bird’s Eye View on Publishing in 2023 as part of the 2023 Jewish Writers’ Conference, sponsored by the Jewish Book Council. He discussed the challenges for the writing profession presented by generative AI and provided an update on the Guild’s legal and policy work in that area.
The Authors Guild has joined the ACLU and other organizations in signing onto an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court in two pivotal cases, Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton. The cases, which have been consolidated before the Supreme Court, challenge state laws in Texas and Florida that seek to regulate content moderation on social media platforms. Central to the brief is the assertion that the First Amendment robustly protects private entities’ editorial discretion, safeguarding their right to organize and present content.
The brief opposes the states’ attempts to influence these platforms’ editorial decisions, arguing that such efforts infringe upon the constitutional guarantee of editorial independence. The Authors Guild’s support for this is significant because it aligns with protecting First Amendment rights, crucial for writers and content creators. The cases involve defending the editorial independence of social media platforms from government regulation. This brief underscores the Guild’s commitment to ensuring that writers and creators maintain their rights to free expression in the increasingly expansive digital realm. Read the document here (PDF). You can also read all our amicus briefs.
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