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Created by Humans, backed by David Sacks, Garry Tan, and Walter Isaacson, helps people license their creative works to AI models

By 2024, it will seem like every week there’s another media organization, writers’ group, or artist suing a generative AI company for using their work to train a model without permission.

The problem, of course, is that there is still no clear framework for what constitutes copyright infringement in the context of training GenAI.

While those cases are bound to keep copyright lawyers busy, a new company that debuted on Tuesday, Created by Humans, aims to bypass costly legal battles by offering a marketplace for creators to license their intellectual property directly to LLMs.

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

Adler’s grand vision attracted $5 million in funding from a host of high-profile investors. The round was led by David Sacks, co-host of the All-In podcast and founder of Craft Ventures, and Mike Maples, co-founder of Floodgate Fund. Other investors in the round included Jason Calacanis of LAUNCH Fund, Sam Lessin and Garry Tan of Slow Ventures. Bestselling author Walter Isaacson also invested and joined the company as a creative advisor and first author whose work can be licensed by the AI ​​company.

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 connections in the publishing world, the startup is launching a service first for authors and book publishers.

This isn’t the only startup working to match content owners with LLM builders seeking training data. Another example is Human Native, founded by former Google DeepMind engineers.

As for Created by Humans, it has already developed a product — a platform that allows authors to submit their work and AI companies to purchase specific elements with predefined usage rights. However, the specifics of its licensing agreement are still evolving. “We are trying to reach a three-way agreement between authors, publishers, and the AI ​​industry,” Adler told TechCrunch. “It’s complicated, but we’re making great progress.”

Currently, Created by Humans is proposing an idea called the “Fourth Law,” a set of guiding principles for how AI companies use and train human-created content. The Fourth Law, inspired by science fiction author Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, states that humans should have the right to consent to and control how AI uses their work, as well as receive compensation (if requested) and recognition for their work (if a book is referenced in the output, there should be a link to purchase it).

“We want [the Fourth Law] “It will become the new standard for transactions between AI companies and content owners,” Adler said. “Authors and publishers can contribute their content and have all of their content managed according to the Fourth Law.”

Adler wants authors to submit certain works to Created by Humans and explain how the AI ​​company can use them. Once the copyright is purchased, Created by Humans will take a percentage of the transaction.

For example, Walter Isaacson can choose the rights he wants to license from his books. “He can choose training rights, reference rights. He can license his voice style, his personas, and choose which AI company he wants to license to,” Adler said. “Walter will then get a dashboard showing where his books are being used and how he’s making money.”

Adler said Created by Humans aims to build a framework for a range of licensing rights, from adapting a book into a movie script to translating it into another language in real time. In fact, he expects “AI revenue” to become the next major force in the book industry, even more than e-books and audiobooks.

“I think it will reinvigorate the book industry and provide a whole new reason to write books,” Adler said.

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