The Power of Collective Action: How Danish Media Takes on OpenAI

The great paradigm shift in copyright law is underway. It signals a seminal battle between AI giants and custodians of the news. Danish media outlets are joining forces to take on OpenAI, the rising AI giant funded by Microsoft, in order to claim compensation for OpenAI’s use of their content to train its AI models. This new battlefield illuminates how content is created today in the age of AI, why parties are desperate to be compensated for this content, and how smaller nations are using imaginative measures to negotiate with tech giants.

The Unfolding Legal Drama: Danish Media vs. OpenAI

Karen Rønde, chief executive of the Danish Press Publications’ Collective Management Organisation (DPCMO), which represents 99 per cent of Danish media, told OpenAI: ‘We make it very clear. If we don’t [reach an agreement], we will sue you.’ In a powerful blow, a combination of Danish newspapers and TV stations (including, for example, the TV 2 and DR state open-access broadcasters) are prepared to go to court unless there is a satisfactory agreement. This was the first time someone had dared the AI company to strike back. But it likely wouldn’t be the last.

A Pioneering Approach: Collective Negotiation

By acting as a single body, Danish media is leveraging a concession from OpenAI that it could set a precedent for smaller countries. This is a direct response to OpenAI’s own playbook of pitting media outlets one against another in individual deals. OpenAI has been rolling out access to GPT-3 by partnering with the Financial Times, the Atlantic, and large media conglomerates like Axel Springer (for Der Spiegel, Die Welt and WIRED Germany), Le Monde, and Prisa.

Denmark's Dilemma: Prioritization in the GLOBAL ARENA

‘If you try to get into an online meeting with OpenAI, they say: “OK, we can arrange a meeting in six weeks.” If you try to get them to meet in person, they postpone and delay,’ Røndemark says. He learned that his market was small potatoes for OpenAI, which had signed much bigger deals with leading companies in Germany, France, Spain and the US. His experience illustrates the general problem that smaller markets face in attracting attention and fair...

Jun 11, 2024
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