New York Times goes for the bot blocking beat

By: Rob Corbidge, 11 August 2023

Publisher changes Terms of Service to prevent its content being used for training generative AI systems

Protecting itself from AI systems using its content to train on without permission, the New York Times has changed the wording of its Terms of Service.

The move by the media company comes as concerns mount about the amount of content being harvested for free by crawlers for generative AI systems across the publishing industry. 

Read: Will You Stop AI's Content Harvest?

It emerged this week that the NYT changed the wording of a clause within its "Prohibited use of the services" ToS on August 3rd.

The wording now reads:

(3) use the Content for the development of any software program, including, but not limited to, training a machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) system. 

For these purposes, the NYT defines content as "including, but not limited to text, photographs, images, illustrations, designs, audio clips, video clips, ‘look and feel,’ metadata, data, or compilations".

Having set new ToS, the NYT would presumably pursue those breaking the ToS through legal means.

At present, the NYT has no direct public deal for content with any of the businesses developing generative AI systems.