Home Tech Quora’s Poe Chatbot Platform Allows Users to Download Paid Articles on Demand

Quora’s Poe Chatbot Platform Allows Users to Download Paid Articles on Demand

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Quora's Poe Chatbot Platform Allows Users to Download Paid Articles on Demand

Poe, an artificial intelligence chatbot platform owned by the question and answer site Quora and backed by a $75 million investment in Andreessen Horowitzoffers users downloadable HTML files of articles published by paid journalism outlets.

If we ask the Service Assistant bot for the URL of this WIRED story about AI-powered search service Perplexity plagiarizing one of our stories, for example, we get a detailed 235-word summary and a 1MB file. archive containing an HTML capture of the full article, which users can download from Poe’s servers directly from the chatbot.

WIRED was also able to retrieve articles from paywalled sites such as The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Atlantic, Forbes, Defector, and 404 Media in downloadable format by simply entering the URLs into the robot assistant’s interface. This appears to be just the latest example of the AI ​​industry’s cavalier attitude toward intellectual property law, which is rapidly undermining existing business models in fields such as journalism and music.

“This is a major copyright issue,” James Grimmelmann, a professor of digital and information law at Cornell University, wrote in an email. “Since they made a copy on their own server, that constitutes a prima facie copyright infringement.” (Quora denies this and compares PoE to a cloud storage service.)

When asked to summarize the content of a test website run by my colleague Dhruv Mehrotra, the bot did not return a summary but did return an HTML file. According to the website’s server logs, immediately after the helper was asked to summarize the site, a server identifying itself as “Quora Bot” visited the site. It did not attempt to visit the site’s robots.txt page, suggesting that Poe and Quora ignore the Robots Exclusion Protocol, a widely accepted though not legally binding web standard.

One prominent media executive, who was granted anonymity by WIRED to candidly discuss a legally sensitive matter his company is actively investigating, says his publication also observed servers identifying themselves as Quora bots accessing his site immediately after giving Poe’s chatbot prompts about specific articles; these prompts, he says, produced much or all of the text of these articles.

“Poe is a platform that allows users to ask questions and maintain a back-and-forth dialogue with a variety of AI-powered bots provided by third parties,” Quora spokesperson Autumn Besselman wrote in an email. “We do not have or train our own AI models. Poe has a feature that allows a user to show the content of a URL to a bot, but the bot will only see the content provided to it by the domain. We will be happy to connect with their technical team to help them ensure that their paid content is not delivered to people who use Poe.”

“Attachments in Poe are created based on user instructions and work similarly to cloud storage services, ‘read later’ services, and ‘web clipper’ products, which we believe are all compatible with copyright law,” Besselman wrote in response to an email asking follow-up questions. Andreessen Horowitz did not respond to a request for comment.

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