- The Authors Guild v. OpenAI lawsuit has taken a new turn after GOT creator George Martin joined the plaintiffs.
- AI’s impact on authors and the content creation industry.
In a significant legal development, the Authors Guild, alongside thirteen prominent authors, has initiated a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI. The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges that OpenAI used copyrighted works without authorization as part of the training data for its large language model, ChatGPT. The Authors Guild and the plaintiffs aim to curb the unauthorized use of their copyrighted materials and address concerns about how ChatGPT was used to impersonate specific authors and create “low-quality” ebooks.
GOT creator joins Authors Guild’s lawsuit against OpenAI
Among the authors participating in the lawsuit are renowned figures like George R.R. Martin, creator of “Game of Thrones” and “House of the Dragon,” John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, Jodi Picoult, Michael Connelly, Elin Hilderbrand, and Christina Baker Kline. The lawsuit, known as Authors Guild vs. OpenAI, alleges that OpenAI’s use of copyrighted works in training its language model has resulted in the creation of subpar imitations of these authors’ literary works. Attorneys representing the Authors Guild argue that without access to these copyrighted works, OpenAI would not have had a viable product to potentially damage or undermine the market for the professional authors’ creations.
This unauthorized copying, they assert, has turned the plaintiffs’ works into instruments of their detriment. For instance, in George R.R. Martin’s case, ChatGPT generated an infringing and unauthorized outline for an alternate sequel to one of Martin’s works, “A Clash of Kings,” titled “A Dance With Shadows.” This derivative work even employed characters from Martin’s existing series, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The lawsuit also references an incident earlier in the year when a developer named Liam Swayne used ChatGPT to create AI-generated endings for Martin’s long-running “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series.
The Authors Guild and the plaintiffs are seeking damages for the lost opportunity to license their works and for the market disruptions enabled by OpenAI. Additionally, they seek a permanent injunction to prevent OpenAI from further utilizing their copyrighted materials. Authors Guild President Maya Shanbhag Lang emphasized the significance of this case in protecting authors from potential theft by OpenAI and other generative AI entities. She stated, “As the oldest and largest organization of writers, with nearly 14,000 members, the Guild is uniquely positioned to represent authors’ rights.”
OpenAI, in response, acknowledged that creative professionals worldwide use ChatGPT as part of their creative processes. While not directly addressing whether their language model utilized the works in question, OpenAI affirmed its respect for the rights of writers and authors, believing that they should benefit from AI technology. OpenAI expressed its commitment to ongoing conversations with creators, including the Authors Guild, to understand and address their concerns regarding AI technology. They expressed optimism in finding mutually beneficial ways to collaborate to enhance the utilization of new technology within the content ecosystem.
This legal action follows a recent case where journalist, author, and professor Jane Friedman raised concerns about Amazon’s refusal to remove books allegedly written by AI that falsely claimed to be her work. The Authors Guild pledged to advocate on her behalf, highlighting the broader issues surrounding AI-generated content. In a separate case, comedian Sarah Silverman and authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey filed a lawsuit against OpenAI in San Francisco, alleging that their books were “ingested” for training ChatGPT and Meta’s LLama without permission.
The lawsuit against OpenAI adds to the ongoing discussions about the role of artificial intelligence in creative industries. It parallels concerns within the Writer’s Guild of America, distinct from the Authors Guild, as part of their negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. These allegations underscore specific instances of copyright infringement by OpenAI’s large language model and its potential to harm the value of authors’ works. The Authors Guild’s legal action argues that OpenAI’s systematic use of copyrighted material threatens all fiction writers and their copyright holders alike.
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