The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act adopted in Europe – The Bookseller

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The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act has been adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday 13th March, with a large majority, in a move welcomed by The Federation of European Publishers (FEP).

The legislation introduces basic obligations in the field of copyright. It says general purpose AI (such as generative AI) must respect copyright law and have policies in place around this. It will also ensure that these AI are transparent on the data used for their training. 

The FEP welcomed the news and said: “The EU now has rules that will be a model for the rest of the world. The AI Act recalls basic but fundamental principles that AI companies must respect. They must respect EU copyright law and actively ensure that they do, even if the AI was trained outside of Europe.

“They will finally have to be transparent on the data used to train their AI, which, to their own admission, relies on the use of copyright protected content.”

The FEP also said the new law will complement existing copyright obligations. However the collective is urging the Commission to “ensure rightsholders have their legitimate place in the essential discussions that will take place to prepare the AI Act implementation”.

The Act was voted through by the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union last month but was formally adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday 13th March, with a large majority.

Ricardo Franco Levi, president of FEP, said: “AI as a technology has great potential, including for our industry, but its original sin could not be overlooked, and the EU has now ensured that it can be corrected. The abuses of AI companies have been widely documented; it was high time to remind them that technology and innovation must always be made compatible with and fully respect the rights of others.” 

AI has been widely discussed at the 2024 London Book Fair this week with Dan Conway, c.e.o. of The Publishers Association, and the Society of Authors’ c.e.o. Nicola Solomon welcoming broader legislation in panel on Tuesday (12th March). “What is good is that globally everybody is realising that regulation is necessary in some form”, Solomon told attendees at the fair, which runs until Thursday 14th March.

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