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Ottawa won't say if AI companies will pay media royalties

Photo: Patrick Doyle The Canadian Press In the office of the Minister of Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, it is said that it will be up to the CRTC to determine whether artificial intelligence companies take over information as defined by law.

The Canadian Press in Ottawa

Published and updated June 17

  • Canada

The federal government won't clarify whether artificial intelligence companies should pay Canadian news media for the content their robots freely use.

A year ago, the Liberal government passed the Online News Act, which requires “web giants” to negotiate deals with Canadian news media to use their journalistic content.

But the government refuses to specify whether this law will also apply to artificial intelligence companies, whose conversational robots are increasingly popular with the general public.

Models like ChatGPT, the robot operated by OpenAI in partnership with Microsoft, Google's Gemini or Meta AI all admit that they use Canadian news media to populate their system's database or to provide answers to questions from users.

In the office of the federal Minister of Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, it is stated that it will belong to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ( CRTC) to determine whether artificial intelligence companies reproduce information content as defined in the Online News Act.

“We are closely monitoring developments in artificial intelligence and their implications for the media sector,” the minister’s office said in a written statement.

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Companies had until last week to notify the CRTC if the law applied to one of their platforms. This list has not yet been made public.

Meta maintains that it remains exempt from the law because its AI system relies on sources on the Internet that are not limited by this legislation. Google should already benefit from an exemption, after negotiating an agreement with the Canadian government to create a media fund. Microsoft, which owns a stake in OpenAI, did not respond to a request for comment.

Since the passage of the Online News Act, bots Conversational communications have become quite common, providing users with human-like communication for various tasks such as answering questions, giving recommendations, or summarizing news articles.

When asking about the chatbots themselves, ChatGPT responds that it uses publicly available information from a variety of news sources, including Canadian news sites. This includes accessing information from websites, news articles and other online resources.

Google's Gemini robot ensures that it does not directly access or process information from Canadian news sites. He admits, however, that news articles can be part of his training tools, playing a role in his knowledge and abilities.

The Meta AI robot explains that it uses news sites to help answer user questions and has been trained on a large amount of data, including news articles from Canadian sources.

Trudeau hopes for self-regulation

In a technology podcast from the New York Times,Justin Trudeau was recently asked whether Canadian law should be expanded to encompass artificial intelligence — and force these companies to pay for their use of Canadian news content. The Prime Minister avoided the question, simply saying that it was up to the platforms themselves to act responsibly.

“What I want is is not for the government to legislate what platforms should or should not do, because that would lead to disaster. We all know how slowly governments end up working,” he said in the podcast Hard Fork.

“But can we put more and more on the platforms the responsibility of leadership and the responsibility that goes with it — around journalism, around the protection of freedom of expression, but also protection against hate speech ? Can we find these balances ? »

In addition to the Online News Act and the Online Streaming Act, which imposes new requirements on the giants of these platforms, the Trudeau government has also proposed the adoption of a law that would regulate — and sanction — companies for their approach to online security. This bill is still under study in Parliament.

The Online News Act stipulates that a platform is targeted if it shares information or reuses it on its online platform, while meeting other criteria. The Ministry of Heritage has already declared that this law would only apply to two companies: Google and Meta.

However, Google should benefit from an exemption since 'she agreed to pay Canadian news media $100 million a year, indexed to inflation.

Meta, for its part, has chosen to block, for its Canadian users, links to news media on its Instagram and Facebook platforms in order to comply with the law. “Our company complies with the Online News Act,” a Meta spokesperson argued in a written statement.

“In Canada, Meta AI s relies on sources on the web that are not limited by this legislation to answer questions and provides sources for these results from our partner search engines. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116