July 23, 2024
Created by Humans

In 2024, it seems like no week goes by without a media organization, author group, or artist suing generative AI companies for using their work to train models without permission.

The issue is, of course, that there’s still no clear framework on what constitutes copyright violation in the context of training GenAI.

While these cases are bound to keep copyright lawyers busy, Created by Humans, a new company that emerged from stealth on Tuesday, aims to bypass expensive legal battles by offering a marketplace where creators can license their intellectual property directly to LLMs.

Created by Humans is the brainchild of Trip Adler, the former CEO of Scribd, a document-sharing service that morphed into a digital book and news subscription company.

Adler’s grand vision has attracted $5 million in funding from a bevy of prominent investors. The round was led by All-In podcast co-host and Craft Ventures founder David Sacks and Mike Maples, co-founder of Floodgate Fund. Other investors in the round included Jason Calacanis at LAUNCH Fund, Slow Ventures’ Sam Lessin and Garry Tan. Best-selling author Walter Isaacson also invested and joined the company as a creative advisor and inaugural author whose work AI companies can license.

Created by Humans aims to be a platform where creators of videos, images, music, and even medical data can sell licensing rights for AI training. But given Adler’s experience and relationships in the publishing world, the startup is first launching with a service for authors and book publishers.

This isn’t the only startup tackling the idea of matchmaking between content owners and LLM builders seeking training data. Another example is Human Native founded by a former Google DeepMind engineer.

As for Created by Humans, it has so far built a product — a platform allowing authors to submit their work and AI companies to purchase specific elements with predefined usage rights. Yet, the exact details of its licensing agreement are still evolving. “We’re trying to broker a three-way deal between authors, publishers and the AI industry,” Adler told TechCrunch. “It’s complicated, but we’re making great progress.”

For now, Created by Humans is proposing a philosophy called the Fourth Law, a set of guiding principles for how AI companies can use and train on human-created content. Fourth Law, inspired by science fiction author Isaac Assimov’s three laws of robots, states that humans should have the right to consent and control how AI uses their work and be compensated (if requested) and credited for their work (if a book is referenced in the output, there should be a link to buy it.)

“We want [the Fourth Law] to be the new standard for how deals work between AI companies and content owners,” Adler said. “Authors and publishers can contribute their content and manage all their content according to the Fourth Law.”

Adler expects authors to submit certain works to Created by Humans and specify how those works could be used by AI companies. Once the rights are purchased, Created by Humans would take a cut of the deal.

As an example, Walter Isaacson can choose the rights he wants to license from his books. “He can pick training rights, reference rights. He can license the style of his voice, his characters and pick which AI company he wants to license to,” Adler said. “And then Walter will get a dashboard that shows where his books are being used and how he’s making money.”

Created by Humans intends to establish a framework for a host of licensing rights from converting a book into a movie script to translating it into another language in real time, Adler said. In fact, he envisions ‘AI revenue’ as the next major force in the book industry, eclipsing even ebooks and audiobooks.

“I think this is going to reinvigorate the book industry and give a whole new reason to write a book,” Adler said.

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