Publishers want Big Tech to pay up

Big Tech is learning (the hard way) that the internet isn’t one big free for all. 

Driving the news: Several tech companies, including OpenAI and Google, want to gain access to content from the world’s biggest news outlets to help train the language models behind their popular chatbots, ChatGPT and Bard, per the Financial Times.  

  • Two payment models currently being discussed with outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian feature either royalty-based fees or annual subscriptions. 

Catch-up: While the negotiations are still in the early stages, Big Media is looking to avoid mistakes made in the early internet era, when Google and Facebook reaped the rewards of free online news content to sell ads. This time around, they’re determined to get paid.

  • The threat to intellectual property facing media is already playing out in the form of legal action from artists, photo agencies, and coders alleging copyright infringement.

Why it matters: With access to credible, up-to-date news sources, AI chatbots will become accurate and, in turn, more useful. That said, an information ecosystem that preserves the financial incentive to create the news is needed to keep the content cycle flowing. 

Yes, but: In a hypothetical world, where anyone with internet access could quickly search for news updates from The New York Times or The Guardian through ChatGPT or Bard for free, it leaves no incentive to visit an outlet's website, let alone pay for a subscription. 

Bottom line: Even if Big Tech cuts a big cheque, publishers will be wary of accepting a deal that could undercut their current business model. A solution is likely a long way away.—LA