YouTube warns OpenAI: Training models on our videos violates their terms of service


Shelly Palmer has been named a “Top Voice in Technology” by LinkedIn and writes a popular daily business blog.

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan has a clear message for OpenAI: Using the platform's videos to train AI models (like Sora) without permission is a “clear violation” of YouTube's terms of service.

This comes after OpenAI CTO Mira Murati recently expressed uncertainty about whether Sora, the company's new text-to-video AI tool, was trained on user-generated content from platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. The Wall Street Journal also reported that OpenAI plans to use YouTube video transcripts to train GPT-5, the next generation of its powerful large language model.

Mohan emphasized that creators upload their works to YouTube with the expectation that the platform's terms and conditions will be respected – terms that prohibit downloading transcripts or video segments for purposes such as training AI models without the creator's consent.

In contrast, Google says they seek permission before using select YouTube videos to train their own AI models based on individual creators' licensing agreements. This allows Google to use YouTube content for AI development while respecting the rights of creators.

The issue of training data and intellectual property is becoming increasingly contentious and is a multi-stage battle. Creators want their intellectual property rights to be respected. Owners of huge data collections (YouTube, Reddit, NYT, etc.) want to profit from their collections. Things on the public web are public.

YouTube's firm stance may make OpenAI sit up and take notice, but it also underscores the complex legal and ethical challenges that lie ahead. In a perfect world, content platforms, AI developers, creators, and policymakers would work together to establish clear policies that balance technological advancements and creators' rights… but unfortunately, the world is not perfect.

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Shelly Palmer is Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting firm that supports Fortune 500 companies in technology, media and marketing. He has been recognized as a “Top Voice in Technology” by LinkedIn and covers the topics of technology and business Hello New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He is a best-selling author and the creator of the popular, free online course. Generative AI for managers. Follow @shellypalmer or visit