AP and OpenAI Join Forces for News-Sharing and Tech Deal

OpenAI has entered into a precedential agreement to license content from Associated Press for use training large language models. OpenAI is “licensing part of AP’s text archive,” presumably leaving the door open to negotiation for video and breaking news. For its part, AP intends to “leverage OpenAI’s technology and product expertise,” according to the outlet’s own article. Financial terms were not disclosed, nor details as to AP’s intended AI use cases. Although AP is in a class by itself as a member-owned cooperative, the agreement could bode well for print journalism, which has had challenges transitioning to the digital age.

Local newspapers and chains with regional portfolios — arguably the hardest-hit in the quest for digital dollars — are likely to find their archives and ongoing reporting a valuable training resource for AI’s ongoing drive to localize, training to the nuance of specific communities, their idiom, dialect and customs. To the extent that material is not already paywalled, one can assume it’s already been scraped.

Google, OpenAI and Stability AI are all being sued for “scraping.” It’s reasonable to expect impending AI regulation will limit some of that. Legislative activity in Australia, Canada and California toward requiring news outlets be compensated for digital use points to promising new revenue streams.

“The partnership between OpenAI and the AP comes at a particularly critical time in the development of the nascent generative AI industry, amid ongoing pressure facing the news business from emerging technology,” VentureBeat writes. In addition, news of OpenAI’s AP deal “comes mere hours after” the FTC initiated an investigation into OpenAI involving data privacy “as well as inaccuracies.”

VentureBeat stressed that AP “is not using generative AI to help write actual news stories.” Indeed, the “human-authored voice” as well as the discretion that comes with personal editing and fact-checking are among the assets sought by OpenAI.

“We are pleased that OpenAI recognizes that fact-based, nonpartisan news content is essential to this evolving technology, and that they respect the value of our intellectual property,” AP Senior VP and Chief Revenue Officer Kristin Heitmann said on Associated Press. The article provides a rundown on copyright litigation with plaintiffs including the author Margaret Atwood and comedian Sarah Silverman.

Axios writes that AP aims to help develop “best practices around generative AI for other newsrooms,” quoting Heitmann saying the deal will help ensure that “newsrooms large and small can leverage this technology to benefit journalism.”

Media Execs Haven’t Learned a Thing from These AI Tests, The Verge, 7/14/23

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