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NY Times Sues Microsoft and OpenAI Over Copyright Infringement

2023.12.28

 

Key Takeaways

  • The New York Times accuses Microsoft and OpenAI of copyright infringement in training AI models.
  • The lawsuit claims unauthorized use of journalistic content, seeking substantial damages.

Legal Battle Over AI Content Usage

The New York Times has initiated a significant legal challenge against tech giant Microsoft and OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Times alleges that these companies have used its copyrighted journalistic content without permission to train large language models, thereby infringing on its intellectual property rights. The newspaper is seeking compensation for what it describes as “billions of dollars” in damages.

 

The lawsuit centers on the claim that Microsoft, a key investor and technology provider to OpenAI, along with OpenAI itself, have unlawfully replicated and utilized content from The New York Times. This content, according to the Times, has played a crucial role in developing and enhancing AI models like ChatGPT. The newspaper asserts that such use of its material for commercial gain must be with the express permission of the original source.

OpenAI and Microsoft’s Response

While OpenAI has expressed disappointment over the legal action, noting their ongoing productive discussions with The New York Times, Microsoft has not responded to the lawsuit. OpenAI’s statement emphasizes a commitment to working with content creators to ensure their benefits from AI technology.

 

This lawsuit reflects a growing tension between media organizations and the developers of advanced AI models. The use of journalistic content in training AI programs like ChatGPT has raised significant concerns among publishers about copyright infringement and the potential impact on their revenue and traffic.

Specific Allegations and Implications

The New York Times highlights instances where GPT-4, an AI model developed by OpenAI, produced content closely resembling its own, sometimes altering crucial details or omitting critical context. This, the Times argues, not only competes directly with its content but also limits its commercial opportunities, such as referral revenue from its Wirecutter app.

 

This lawsuit marks a pivotal moment in the evolving relationship between AI technology and copyright law. The outcome could set a significant precedent for how AI developers use copyrighted material and how media companies protect their intellectual property in the digital age.

Specific Allegations and Implications

The New York Times highlights instances where GPT-4, an AI model developed by OpenAI, produced content closely resembling its own, sometimes altering crucial details or omitting critical context. This, the Times argues, not only competes directly with its content but also limits its commercial opportunities, such as referral revenue from its Wirecutter app.

 

This lawsuit marks a pivotal moment in the evolving relationship between AI technology and copyright law. The outcome could set a significant precedent for how AI developers use copyrighted material and how media companies protect their intellectual property in the digital age.

 


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