Many creators in Japan are concerned about the spread of generative artificial intelligence and its potential to commit copyright infringement, amid calls for the new technology to be better regulated at the development phase, an industry survey showed Thursday.

The online survey, which was conducted in May and had nearly 27,000 respondents including illustrators, photographers and writers, showed that 93.8% of them are worried about copyright infringement, while 58.5% said they are concerned about losing their jobs.

Some reported that their contracts had been terminated, with one saying, "I was cut off from my contract because I was told AI can generate pictures instantly." Several creators said their works were used without permission.

Another respondent expressed "despair from the heart" about the thought of their work being misused without their knowledge.

"Please don't steal my work," he said.

Many also pointed out that illegal websites that store copyrighted works without permission have been used by developers for source material to train their AI models on and called for revising copyright law provisions that allow AI models to use copyrighted works without permission in the development stage.

Arts Workers Japan, which conducted the survey, has been demanding that the government introduce better regulation for AI. The association is joined by a wide range of artists including actors, musicians and decorative artists.