News/Media Alliance Survey Reveals Support for AI Companies to Compensate Publishers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Arlington, VA – This week, the News/Media Alliance released the results of a first of its kind public opinion survey on artificial intelligence and its implications on society, intellectual property rights, and the need for regulatory oversight.

The findings reveal a widespread skepticism towards AI among voters. Though almost all of the respondents said they have heard about AI recently, this awareness is translated into growing apprehension, as many express unease over AI’s potential impacts, with particular concern among women, conservatives, seniors, and rural voters.

The survey comes as reporters at The New York Times uncovered substantial evidence of unethical and unlawful use of copyright protected content by AI developers, knowing full well the line that was being crossed. News/Media Alliance President & CEO, Danielle Coffey warned, “This should call into further question users’ trust and reliance on products that were built on stolen property. The notion that massive amounts of content cannot possibly be licensed flies in the face of current large scale licensing of content for entertainment, R&D, financial, governmental, academic, medical, and other endless uses. The fact that there are AI developers licensing with news organizations today shows it’s possible. Where copyright protected content can be licensed, it should be licensed.”

The survey reveals a notably strong call for government intervention to curb AI’s influence — a reaction that stands out as unique for such a new technology — with nearly three-quarters (72%) of voters in favor of imposing restrictions. The survey also uncovers deep concerns about AI’s potential to spread misinformation, undermine election integrity, and threaten trustworthy news sources, as well as AI’s unauthorized use of intellectual property.

Moreover, there is substantial support for AI companies to compensate news publishers for the use of their content. These findings indicate that the News/Media Alliance is reflecting the public’s attitudes when calling for measures to be put in place against AI’s unchecked expansion, advocating for the compensation of content creators, and supporting policies ensuring AI’s transparent and accountable development.

Survey Details

The News/Media Alliance fielded an online panel survey with a representative sample of 1,800 registered voters from across the USA over February 3-11, 2024.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a familiar topic for voters, with a striking 95% reporting at least some recent exposure to information about AI.

How much have you seen or heard recently about artificial intelligence (AI)?

A lot 26%
Some 43%
A little 26%
Nothing at all 4%
Don’t know 1%

However, this widespread awareness does not translate into support, with more than twice as many voters saying they feel uneasy about AI compared to those who say they are comfortable, with women (71%), conservatives (71%), seniors (81%), and rural voters (77%) most likely to say they are uncomfortable.

As you may know, efforts are underway to develop computer programs that can mimic human thinking and possibly replace human activity in a number of areas. This is often referred to as artificial intelligence or AI. Overall, how comfortable are you with the idea of artificial intelligence (AI)?

Very comfortable 7%
Somewhat comfortable 24%
(Total comfortable: 31%)
Somewhat uncomfortable 35%
Very uncomfortable 31%
(Total uncomfortable: 66%)

Almost three-quarters of voters (72%), with strong support across demographic groups, agree that limitations should be placed on AI, indicating a desire for government intervention and action not previously observed with the introduction of other new technologies.

Would you support or oppose efforts to limit the power and influence of artificial intelligence (AI)?

Support, strongly 36%
Support, somewhat 36%
(Total support: 72%)
Oppose, somewhat 12%
Oppose, strongly 8%
(Total oppose: 20%)

After reading a statement with arguments from both sides, a majority of voters (57%) supported compensating publishers for their content being used in training AI tools. This support is particularly strong among college graduates (50%), Democrats (52%) and those who get their news through group messaging apps (75%), websites (66%), and daily (64%) or weekly (63%) newspapers.

There is a debate taking place about the vast amounts of copyrighted work being used by tech companies in the development and implementation of artificial Intelligence (AI).

– News and media publishers say the unauthorized use of their online content to train artificial intelligence (AI) systems is infringing on their copyrighted work and they should be compensated for its use.

– Tech companies say they should be exempt from copyright claims since they only use the online content for training their AI systems and requiring payments to copyright holders would hinder the development of artificial intelligence.

A majority harbors deep worries regarding various societal risks posed by AI, particularly around AI’s impacts on increasing misinformation (66%), driving out trustworthy news sources (59%), threatening the integrity of our elections (60%), and stealing others’ work (58%).

Some concerns have been raised about the impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) as the technology continues to grow. For each of the following, please indicate how concerning it is to you.

After being presented with arguments for both sides, support for compensating publishers climbs to nearly two-thirds of voters, with Independents and conservative women showing the most significant increases in support.

Media contact:
Lindsey Loving
Director, Communications
lindsey@newsmediaalliance.org

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The News/Media Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,200 news, magazine and digital media organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and globally. Alliance members include print and digital publishers of original journalism. Headquartered just outside Washington, D.C., the association focuses on ensuring the future of journalism through communication, research, advocacy, and innovation. Information about the News/Media Alliance can be found at www.newsmediaalliance.org.

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