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CLA welcomes House of Lords report on large language models (LLMs)

On Friday 2 February 2024, the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee released its report around large language models (LLMs) and generative AI, which CLA submitted evidence to in 2023. 

LLMs are the power behind generative AI tools like ChatGPT, and with more than 3,000 AI companies in the UK, it is imperative that the Government takes the necessary steps to defend rightsholders whose work is being used to train models without permission or financial compensation. 

Last week’s report recognises the significant societal value offered by LLMs but emphasises that the unauthorised use of rightsholders’ content by developers and deployers of LLMs, without permission and remuneration, is fundamentally unfair. It cites “compelling evidence” that the UK benefits economically, politically, and societally from its “globally respected” copyright framework. 

When submitting evidence, CLA argued that current LLM practices “severely undermine not only the economic value of the creative industries but the UK’s internationally respected ‘goldstandard’ copyright framework”. Our recent report on generative AI’s impact on the creative sector also shows that the industry is calling for specific tools and licensing over broad exceptions. 

In support of copyright, the report highlighted that the UK Government needs to prioritise fairness and responsible innovation. It must resolve disputes definitively (including through updated legislation if needed); empower rightsholders to check if their data has been used without permission; and invest in large, high quality training datasets to encourage tech firms to use licensed material. 

Whilst disappointing that the voluntary code of practice cannot be agreed, we welcome the Government’s assurance in yesterday’s response that it is committed to the growth of our world-leading creative industries and ensuring greater transparency from AI developers. Transparency is one of five key principles we have published for Copyright and Generative AI which emphasise the importance of ensuring that generative AI is developed safely, ethically and legally. We look forward to working with the Government on this. 

CLA CEO, Mat Pfleger said: 

We welcome the House of Lords Committee’s report on Large Language Models and its strong stance in support of creators and rightsholders. We are pleased that the report acknowledges expanding existing licensing systems and we believe both direct licensing and voluntary collective licensing solutions can play a key role in the responsible development of AI. The report’s emphasis on fair compensation and creator’s rights aligns with our core principles, and we support the call for the Government to play an active role in promoting good practice by collaborating with licensing agencies, rightsholders and data repository owners.

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