Litigation » New York Times Sues OpenAI For Copyright Violations

New York Times Sues OpenAI For Copyright Violations

January 8, 2024

New York Times Sues OpenAI For Copyright Violations

The New York Times reports that it sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on December 27. According to an article in the Times, the suit “opened a new front in the increasingly intense legal battle over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.”

In its complaint, The Times said it approached Microsoft and OpenAI with concerns about the use of its intellectual property. The possibility of a commercial agreement that included “technological guardrails” around generative A.I. products was raised, but no resolution was reached.

According to the complaint, the defendants are responsible for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” related to the “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works.” It says that “defendants’ unlawful use of The Times’s work to create artificial intelligence products that compete with it threatens The Times’s ability to provide that service.”

It alleges that “defendants GenAI tools can generate output that recites Times content verbatim, closely summarizes it, and mimics its expressive style,” and that “these tools also wrongly attribute false information to The Times.” 

In a statement, OpenAI spokeswoman, Lindsey Held, said the company had been “moving forward constructively” in talks and was “surprised and disappointed” by the lawsuit. Microsoft, which has committed to invest $13 billion in OpenAI, didn’t comment.

Richard Tofel, a former president of the nonprofit ProPublica is quoted as saying that the Supreme Court will inevitably have to settle the underlying issue, if not this particular case.

“Enough publishers won’t settle that this novel and crucial issue of copyright law will need to be resolved,” he says.

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