US: AAP Announces Support for AI Certification Nonprofit

In News by Porter Anderson

AAP’s Maria A. Pallante is advising Fairly Trained, which certifies generative AI providers for ‘training’ without copyright infringement.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Myshkovsky

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also: Canada Calls for AI Input, With Publishing’s Copyright Needs Still Unmet

Fairly Trained Has Certified 9 Companies to Date
Having looked Tuesday (January 16) at the Canadian government’s call for input from creative-industry players on artificial intelligence, we’re today (January 17) being messaged by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) about the organization’s support for a newly opened company called Fairly Trained.

The new company is a nonprofit that says it certifies “AI companies that get a license for their training data.”

At Bloomberg, Ellen Hunt writes that Fairly Trained was “founded by Ed Newton-Rex, who resigned in November as the vice-president of audio for Stability AI, citing concerns over AI ‘exploiting creators.”

You can get a look here at the “certification requirements” for Fairly Trained’s first certification, which is called the Licensed Model (L) Certification for AI providers. It involves three areas of examination:

  • Data sources
  • Data due diligence
  • Record keeping

In answer to Publishing Perspectives‘ questions, an AAP spokesman says that its ‘support’ for Fairly Trained involves no financial relationship.

“We are … literally supportive of the organization because its goals are aligned with the goals of publishers.”

To that end, AAP president and CEO Maria A. Pallante is serving as one of several advisers to the company, “non-paid, in her capacity as a legal and industry expert.” The Fairly Trained team is presented as comprising CEO Newton-Rex and four advisers including Pallante.

Her and AAP’s engagement could be helpful both to Fairly Trained and to the publishing industry because, as yet, none of the nine startups that Fairly Talented has certified are in publishing or other book-related fields. Those certified companies are on Fairly Trained’s site comprise eight sound and/or music-generation models and one that works in imagery. It’s unclear at this point whether that means that performing certification for text-based generative models is going to be harder, or easier, than it has been for sound and image firms.

Fairly Trained and AI’s ‘Nuanced Questions’

Ed Newton-Rex

Fairly Trained CEO Newton-Rex classifies himself as a composer and technologist, working “at the intersection of generative AI and music creation.”

Newton-Rex founded a AI music-generation company called Jukedeck, which was acquired by ByteDance—TikTok’s parent company. He says in his bio on the site that at ByteDance, “I ran the European AI Lab and later led ‘Product in Europe’ for TikTok. Most recently I was vice-president of audio at Stability AI.”

He says he was also on the founding team of the AI Song Contest “and I’m a mentor at Abbey Road Studios’ music tech incubator. I write choral music, which is published by Boosey & Hawkes.”

In announcing itself and its first (L) certification, Fairly Trained today writes in a blog post, “As our first certification, we don’t expect it to solve all the issues for creators that generative AI training raises. But we hope that it highlights that there is a meaningful difference between generative AI companies that license training data and those that use data without consent.

“We plan to address more nuanced questions about dataset acquisition, such as opt-in vs. opt-out, with future certifications.”

Certainly to any of those organizations and professionals who have instigated lawsuits over large language models’ training protocols, this line may be welcome: “This certification will not be awarded to models that rely on a ‘fair use’ copyright exception or similar, which is an indicator that rights-holders haven’t given consent for their work to be used in training. In this way, we hope it will be a helpful marker of companies who are taking a fairer approach to training data acquisition.”

Fairly Trained’s pricing is in two parts, first for making a submission for certification and then for an annually renewed certification, once granted, all based on an AI provider’s annual revenue, on this scale, as published on the site, prices in US dollars:

  • Revenue less than $100k: $150 submission fee, $500 annual certification fee
  • Revenue less than $500,000: $150 submission fee, $1,000 annual certification fee
  • Revenue less than $5 million: $250 submission fee, $2,000 annual certification fee
  • Revenue less than $10 million: $350 submission fee, $4,000 annual certification fee
  • Revenue greater than $10 million: $500 submission fee, $6,000 annual certification fee

In a story by Chris Stokel-Walker at Fast Company, Newton-Rex talked about leaving Stability AI, as he saw the process that was being used to justify the “fair use” contention for training-without-consent to the US Copyright Office. “When everyone submitted their pieces,” he tells Stokel-Walker, “it became very clear that many companies are still relying on the fair use argument, and trying to justify that to the US Copyright Office. It’s just what I really disagree with.

“So I feel like I did resign from Stability, but I also feel like I resigned from a group of large AI companies who will take the same approach.”

A Programming Note: London Book Fair

At London Book Fair, March 12 to 14, Maria A. Pallante, president and CEO, Association of American Publishers (AAP), will join us when Publishing Perspectives moderates a Main Stage discussion, Copyright and AI: A Global Discussion of Machines, Humans, and the Law, an advanced-level conversation exploring the risks and opportunities within the rapidly evolving ecosystem in an era of artificial intelligence.

Maria A. Pallante

The session will also feature:

That’s set for 2:15 to 3 p.m. on the Main Stage on London Book Fair’s opening day, March 12.

More from Publishing Perspectives on artificial intelligence is here, more on copyright is here, more on the Association of American Publishers is here, and more on the United States’ publishing market is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s world media partner.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.