- Launched 25/11/2023
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Summary: In an open letter, the Authors' Rights Network (Netzwerk Autorenrechte) calls on the German government as well as the French and Italian leaders to reconsider their stance on the (non-)regulation of AI, to take a stand against the massive damaging effects of unregulated AI applications based on theft, to protect people and authors from data theft and disinformation and to reflect on values such as trust, democracy and justice.
++ Open letter on the subject of France, Germany's and Italy's position on the planned EU Artificial Intelligence Act ++
Dear Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Germany),
Dear Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck,
Dear Federal Minister for Digital and Transport Volker Wissing,
Dear President Emmanuel Macron (France),
Dear Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (Italy):
It is with great concern that we, the members of the Netzwerk Autorenrechte which represents authors and translators in the book sector from 15 organisations in the D-A-CH region, observe Germany's, Frances and Italy's new position on the AI Act proposal. This new position runs counter to the consensus previously reached by EU Member States on the legal regulation of AI, in particular with regard to transparency and liability obligations for developers of generative technology.
According to reports from Euractiv on 19 November 2023, Germany – under the lead of the Digital Ministry and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, and together with France and Italy – wants to push for "obligatory self-regulation" instead of legally binding regulation. There are no sanctions for saftey incidents such as copyright, authors’ rights and data protection violations, insufficient labeling, or circumventing ethical standards in the position of these three countries.
Dear Chancellor, dear Vice Chancellor, dear Federal Minister,
dear Mr President of France, dear Prime Minister of Italy:
We urge you to change your position, which currently favors supposed economic advantages to the detriment of sustainable legal rules. Your position sends a fatal signal to everyone in the cultural sectors and to all people in Europe: namely, that you're willing to protect the same tech companies that illegitimately make use of cultural works and citizens data for their own profits – rather than protecting the people whose work and private data have made these foundation models and generative applications possible in the first place.
The consequences of your position would be devastating. Generative technology is already threatening numerous jobs. We can already observe several harmful “business models” based on AI products and an increase in disinformation. It's been proven that generative AI uses unlawfully obtained works without the knowledge or consent of the works' authors. Without legal regulation, generative technologies will accelerate the theft of artistic work and data. They'll increase discrimination and the falsification of information, including damage to reputations. And they'll significantly contribute to climate change. The more legally deregulated generative products reach the market, the more irreparable the loss of trust in texts, images, and information will become for society as a whole.
We urge you to return to the values of trust, democracy, and justice. We're standing on the threshold of an evolution, of one of the most decisive moments in history. Will we regulate the machines that are using humans in order to replace them? Or will we choose the short-sighted ideology of money?
We trust you have the political resolve to do the right thing.
Berlin, 24 November 2023
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