New York Times sues OpenAI and Microsoft

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new york times sues openai

The New York Times has initiated legal action against OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, along with Microsoft, asserting that their copyright was unlawfully utilized in training the language model. The lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, seeks “billions of dollars” in damages, accusing both companies of substantial copyright violations.

New York Times sues OpenAI : Allegations of Massive Copyright Infringement

The lawsuit alleges that ChatGPT, and other large language models (LLMs), unlawfully incorporated “millions” of articles published by the New York Times to enhance its intelligence. These articles were allegedly used without the newspaper’s permission, positioning ChatGPT as a competitor to the renowned news outlet.

ChatGPT Competing as an Information Source

According to the legal documents, ChatGPT, when queried about current events, sometimes produces “verbatim excerpts” from New York Times articles, content that would typically require a subscription. This, the lawsuit contends, allows users to access premium New York Times content without the requisite payment, resulting in the loss of subscription revenue and advertising clicks for the newspaper.

Microsoft’s Role and the Bing Search Engine Connection

Microsoft, named as a defendant alongside OpenAI, has invested over $10 billion in the AI company. The lawsuit also points out the integration of ChatGPT in Bing, highlighting instances where the search engine provided results directly from a New York Times-owned website without proper attribution or referral links. This, the New York Times argues, further impacts their revenue stream.

Failed Attempt at Resolution and Recent Turmoil at OpenAI

The legal action comes after the New York Times reportedly sought an “amicable resolution” with Microsoft and OpenAI in April, which was unsuccessful. The filing of the lawsuit follows a tumultuous period at OpenAI, where CEO Sam Altman was temporarily removed and subsequently reinstated, leading to internal strife and threats of mass resignations.

New York Times sues OpenAI : Growing Legal Challenges for OpenAI

This lawsuit adds to a series of legal challenges faced by OpenAI in 2023. Previous cases include a copyright infringement suit filed by a group of US authors, including George RR Martin and John Grisham, and legal action brought by comedian Sarah Silverman. OpenAI is also jointly facing a lawsuit with Microsoft and GitHub from computing experts who claim their code was used without permission to train an AI named Copilot.

Ongoing Battle Against Generative AI Developers

In addition to these lawsuits, the broader field of generative AI faces legal scrutiny, with artists suing text-to-image generators Stability AI and Midjourney for allegedly relying on copyrighted artwork. As of now, none of these legal disputes have been resolved.