OpenAI, Microsoft Gets NYT Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

In this post:

  • The New York Times sued Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging billions in damages for copyright infringement and unauthorized use of their content.
  • NYT claims Microsoft and OpenAI built a business model on “mass copyright infringement” by training AI models with their valuable works.
  • OpenAI attempts to address concerns by partnering with Axel Springer, while media organizations seek compensation for AI use of their content.

The New York Times (NYT) has taken legal action against Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging copyright infringement and misuse of the newspaper’s intellectual property. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” for what the NYT claims is the “unlawful copying and use” of its valuable works. The move reflects a growing trend among media organizations seeking compensation for the alleged use of their content in training advanced artificial intelligence (AI) models.

Allegations of Copyright Infringement and Abuse of Intellectual Property

The NYT asserts that Microsoft, which invests in and supplies technology to OpenAI, has engaged in “mass copyright infringement” alongside OpenAI. The newspaper contends that the companies utilized its content without permission to train large language models, such as ChatGPT. The NYT emphasizes the need for journalistic material to be used for commercial purposes only with proper authorization from the source.

NYT Demands Accountability and Compensation

In the lawsuit, the NYT demands accountability from Microsoft and OpenAI, holding them responsible for the damages incurred due to the alleged unlawful use of its content. The newspaper argues that settled copyright laws exist to protect journalistic work and content, requiring explicit permission for commercial utilization. The NYT insists that Microsoft and OpenAI have failed to obtain such permission.

Susman Godfrey Represents The New York Times

The legal proceedings involve Susman Godfrey, the litigation firm known for representing Dominion Voting Systems in a defamation suit against Fox News. This case resulted in a substantial $787.5 million settlement. Susman Godfrey is also representing author Julian Sancton and other writers in a separate lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI, accusing them of using copyrighted materials without permission in the training of various AI models.

OpenAI’s Response and Previous Efforts to Address Concerns

OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and other advanced AI models, has faced criticism from media organizations over the use of their content to train AI programs. In an attempt to address these concerns, OpenAI announced a partnership with Axel Springer, the parent company of Business Insider, Politico, Bild, and Welt. The partnership involves licensing content to OpenAI in exchange for a fee. The financial terms of this arrangement were not disclosed.

Impact on Media Publishers and Creators

The lawsuit reflects a broader challenge faced by media publishers and creators who find their content being used by generative AI models like ChatGPT. The NYT accuses Microsoft and OpenAI of creating a business model based on mass copyright infringement, alleging that their AI systems have been employed to produce reproductions of the newspaper’s intellectual property, exploiting and retaining significant portions of the copyrightable expression in the process.

The legal action taken by The New York Times against Microsoft and OpenAI marks a significant development in the ongoing debate over the use of copyrighted material in training advanced AI models. As media organizations increasingly seek compensation for the alleged unauthorized use of their content, the outcome of these lawsuits may shape the future landscape of AI development and its relationship with the intellectual property of content creators. CNBC has reached out to Microsoft and OpenAI for comment, and further developments in this case will be closely monitored.

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