Become a member

News and Advocacy

Artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers new opportunities and efficiencies, but also poses significant risks to the creative industries. It is imperative that the development and use of generative AI is carefully regulated. The rights of human creators must be safeguarded and their contributions to the development of AI technologies acknowledged and compensated.

Generative AI models are trained by ingesting huge corpuses of ‘data’ – known as training datasets or inputs – which include copyright works such as books, journals, essays, and articles. The quality of the outputs is reliant on the quality of the training datasets or inputs. It is undisputed that the works in the training datasets have been copied without permission from, or payment to, creators. What’s more, this technology risks displacing, and diminishing the value of, authors’ and illustrators’ labour.

We know that generative AI will reduce supplementary sources of income and skills-building opportunities for authors and artists such as copywriting and concepting art jobs. We are also concerned that inferior AI-generated content will flood the market, making discoverability harder for professional writers and lowering quality for consumers.

Given the very low earnings of authors (average of $18,200 per year), even a small disruption to income may mean the permanent loss of many professional writers, resulting in a contraction of authentic Australian voices, of unique Australian perspective and a future skills gap. 

We support the development of new technology, but this development must be done ethically.  The ASA position is that the laws and policies regulating AI should ensure authorisation, fair compensation and transparency.

The ASA welcomes the Australian Government’s recognition that AI must be regulated to ensure its safe and responsible development and use, and believes that industry must act transparently and be guided by ethical and human-centred principles. 

Authorisation and compensation

AI developers must be required to seek authorisation from writers and illustrators to use their works to train generative AI, and to fairly compensate the creators who grant such authorisation. 

Copyright owners earn a living from licensing their work and must share in the financial rewards derived from using their intellectual property. It is axiomatic that any business relying on a third party’s intellectual property to develop a new product or service must seek a license from the owner of that intellectual property. To ignore this is to ignore the cost of creating cultural material, treat authors’ intellectual work as a free public commodity, disregard copyright laws, and undercut the living wage of professional writers and artists. 

Market-based solutions, such as direct or collective licensing, remain an effective mechanism to support new forms of exploitation. Licensing honours an author’s right to exploit their works  – or refuse to do so – and ensures that authors are appropriately remunerated.

Transparency and trustworthiness

Transparency is crucial in ensuring the safe, ethical, and fair development of AI technologies. Generative AI companies must be required to be transparent about both inputs and outputs. 

Inputs: AI developers must be required to disclose copyright works used for AI training, and for what purpose. There is global precedent for this – the Draft EU AI ACT, for instance, requires foundation model AI developers to publish summaries of copyright material used for AI training. This is important to avoid serious and well-documented issues of bias, to appropriately acknowledge the use of original content and to let creators know if their rights have been infringed. 

Outputs: AI-generated products should be labelled as such. It is essential for educational, research and cultural institutions – as well as consumers – to be able to easily identify AI-generated works. AI developers and users must be required to declare when a work is wholly or partially AI-generated.  

Authors play an irreplaceable role in our society; entertaining, challenging, educating and inspiring countless readers, as well as fueling the broader creative industries. Human creativity and human knowledge is essential to a healthy, resilient, democratic, and modern society. New technologies ought to serve our community and unlock new opportunities for our creative industries. If regulated appropriately, AI represents a chance to support Australian authors, artists and publishers rather than displace our creators to the detriment of our nation’s unique cultural landscape.

Read our full policy recommendations here.


What is the ASA doing?

What can you do?

Read the ASA’s AI guidance for creators, which is updated on a regular basis.

Send a letter to AI companies telling them they do not have the right to use your work; the US Authors Guild has made a template available here.

Write a letter to the Attorney-General expressing your concern over the unremunerated, unauthorised appropriation of your work for AI-training.

Sign the US Authors Guild’s open letter to the CEOs of AI companies here.

If you haven’t already, consider joining the ASA. The ASA’s lobbying efforts in Canberra would not be possible without our members’ support. The more voters we can show we represent, the clearer our voice will be heard by the politicians with the power to make change.

Alternatively, if you’re already a member or prefer to contribute without joining the ASA, you can donate to our Endowment Fund. Donations to the Endowment Fund go directly towards supporting the ASA to lobby and campaign for the rights and professional interests of authors and illustrators.

Related news