June 13, 2024

The New York Times has decided not to join a group of media companies attempting to jointly negotiate with the major tech companies over use of their content to power artificial intelligence.

The move is a major blow to efforts to Barry Diller’s efforts to establish an industry united front against Google and Microsoft.

Diller said at a Semafor media event in April that publishers should sue major tech companies that have trained their AI models on data produced by media organizations. As the Wall Street Journal and Semafor reported, his company IAC has been spearheading an effort to form a group of key publishers that would press for legislative and potential legal action to force the tech companies to pay billions of dollars back to those publishers. The presence of the two pillars of American news — the Times to the center-left and Journal to the center-right — would have been a powerful statement for that coalition.

Diller and IAC CEO Joey Levin had discussed the group with media organizations including Axel Springer and News Corp, which believed that the others were on board for the effort, and that the Times would also participate.

But three sources with knowledge told Semafor that the Times is no longer a part of the effort. One person said that the Times had discussed joining the group, but never committed.

The decision by the Times makes it more likely that publishers may cut their own separate deals. Earlier this year, the Associated Press announced an agreement to license the AP’s archive of news stories to ChatGPT-maker OpenAI for two years.