The AI Legal Labyrinth: What You Need to Know

May 15, 2024

Read time: 3 minutes



In a world where artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving faster than your morning coffee gets cold, understanding the legal landscape is more critical than ever. We ran a webinar with Hybrid Legal where we dived into the complex waters of AI legislation, talked through the biggest court cases and offered invaluable insights for businesses and innovators alike.

If you want to make sure you don't miss the next one make sure you're signed up to our newsletter.


The AI Boom and the Legal Lag

It's no secret that AI is advancing at breakneck speed. From autonomous cars to healthcare innovation to LLMs that can write your next blog post...well almost.

AI's capabilities are evolving and affecting both work and society. Yet, while the technology races ahead, the law is struggling to keep pace. AI's rapid development is outrunning the legal frameworks we currently have.


The Data Dilemma

One of the central core issues in the AI legal landscape is data usage. AI models, including those developed by OpenAI and Google, rely heavily on vast amounts of data to train their algorithms. But where has this data come from, and do those companies have the right to use it are some of the big questions in court right now.

The debate is far from settled. Google's quiet retreat after accusing OpenAI of using YouTube data, only to discover it had done the same, highlights the complexities and potential hypocrisies in this battlefield.


The Legal Precedent: Getty Images vs. Stability AI

One of the most significant legal battles currently unfolding is between Getty Images and Stability AI. Getty Images alleges that Stability AI used its copyrighted content without permission to train their models, a claim Stability AI contests by pointing to jurisdictional technicalities. This case, set to be heard summer of 2025, could set a precedent for how AI companies can use online data. It's potentially a watershed moment, akin to the copyright battles of the early 2000s, and its outcome will be pivotal for the industry.


The EU AI Act: A New Era of Regulation

In terms of regulation, the European Union is leading the charge with its new AI Act, set to become law later this year. This act aims to create a robust regulatory framework, categorising AI systems based on their risk levels and imposing stringent requirements on high-risk applications. Companies deploying AI in the EU will need to navigate this new rulebook carefully to avoid hefty fines.

Is this regulation going to strangle AI innovation in Europe compared to the US and UK?

Eric Schmitt, former CEO of Google, thinks so. He says the US is leading the charge here with much more of a hands off approach.


Is AI Law Uncertainty Holding You Back? 

During the webinar, we asked if uncertainty around AI law was holding people back from moving ahead with AI. Interestingly, 58% of respondents said it wasn't.



So, What's the Direction of Travel and Likely Outcomes?

As the legal landscape continues to evolve, data partnerships are becoming a key strategy for tech companies. We're seeing this play out right now with OpenAI signing deals with The FT and other major publishers.

In the US, expect a pro-innovation stance with an emphasis on state-level initiatives, fostering a competitive environment where data sharing and partnerships will flourish. The EU, with its stringent AI Act, will likely see more controlled and transparent data usage, driving companies to establish clear, lawful partnerships to comply with high-risk regulations. The UK, balancing between these approaches, might offer a middle ground, encouraging innovation while cautiously implementing safeguards. These regional differences will shape how companies form data partnerships and leverage AI technology, potentially leading to a more segmented global AI ecosystem.


Practical Steps for Businesses

So, what should businesses do to stay ahead of the curve? There's three key takeaways right now, they are:

  1. Understand your data
  2. Conduct thorough impact assessments
  3. Review your contracts


The legal landscape of AI is a complex and ever-evolving field. Staying informed and proactive is crucial. If you're keen to stay on top of these issues, sign up for newsletter and attend the next webinar. We’ll break down these topics in more detail, offering practical advice to help you navigate the AI legal maze.

Finally, if you you want to just get going now by yourself, download our AI Policy Framework which has sections to guide you - it's on the bottom of our home page.


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