Navigating the Legal Landscape of AI Content on Medium

Seth Underwood
Short. Sweet. Valuable.
2 min readApr 10, 2024

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Image- By BullRun Sourced and Licensed by the Author through Adobe Spark

I was reading Martynas Ki.’s Medium Nightmare: How Ban Looks Like? Post and a recent email I got from Medium about an update to the Medium Partner Program concerning the use of AI content.

“Medium is for human storytelling, not AI-generated writing.” And yet it seems you can still have them, but they are only going out to your email list and general distribution.

As a non-attorney, I noticed copyright concerns in the terms of service. By posting to Medium, we grant them a royalty-free license for our content.

In fact, there’s no guarantee of payment for this license although we keep all the rights.

The issue may not be human vs. non-human written content, but the unsettled copyright concerns regarding generative A.I.

The bottom line is if Medium pays us for the content and it turns out the generative A.I. is from copyrighted material, I suspect there’s a certain amount of legal liability involved.

In the U.S., if there’s no payment involved, Medium is protected from liability by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provisions.

Depending upon the outcome of certain lawsuits, generative AI either follows Napster, or not. If not, then Medium might revisit its policies.

This piece was human written. It’s not being paywalled.

You can buy me a new match-box car- https://ko-fi.com/sethunderwood

Sorry I don’t drink coffee… it interferes with my medications.

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Seth Underwood
Short. Sweet. Valuable.

54+ autistic, undiagnosed dyslexic, sufferer of chronic migraines, writer of dark science fiction, player of video games and Mike Pondsmith Fan. Race- Human.