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Forty-two German associations and trade unions representing more than 140,000 authors and performers on Wednesday urged the European Union to beef up draft artificial intelligence rules as they singled out the threat to their copyright from ChatGPT.

Trade unions for the creative sector Verdi and DGB and associations for photographers, designers, journalists and illustrators set out their concerns in a letter to the European Commission, European Council and EU lawmakers.

The letter underlined the growing worries about generative artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT which can mimic humans and create text and images based on prompts.

“The unauthorized usage of protected training material, its nontransparent processing, and the foreseeable substitution of the sources by the output of generative AI raise fundamental questions of accountability, liability and remuneration, which need to be addressed before irreversible harm occurs,” the letter seen by Reuters said.

“Generative AI needs to be at the centre of any meaningful AI market regulation,” it said.

The European Commission, which last year proposed AI rules, will in the coming months thrash out the final details with EU lawmakers and member states before the rules become legislation.

The rules should be beefed up to regulate generative AI across the entire product cycle, especially on providers of foundation models, the groups said.

They also call for providers of such technology to be liable for all content generated and disseminated by the AI, in particular for infringement of personal rights and copyrights, misinformation or discrimination.

The letter said providers of foundation models such as Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Meta Platforms should not be allowed to operate central platform services to distribute digital content.

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