Pulitzer Prize winners file lawsuit alleging copyright infringements by OpenAI and Microsoft: 'Widespread theft'

Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Taylor Branch, Stacy Schiff, and Kai Bird have filed a class-action lawsuit in Manhattan, accusing OpenAI and Microsoft of copyright infringement. The authors claim that the companies used their books to train OpenAI’s GPT language models without permission or compensation. They argue that OpenAI and Microsoft have built a lucrative business worth billions of dollars by using copyrighted works without adhering to copyright laws. The plaintiffs assert that the companies have made commercial reproductions of millions, if not billions, of copyrighted works without proper licenses or permissions. The lawsuit also alleges that the companies copied and analyzed a significant amount of copyrighted material to train their AI models, including tens or hundreds of thousands of nonfiction books. The authors argue that the models could only generate text that resembles human expression by relying on this copied material. The lawsuit further claims that OpenAI’s ChatGPT would not exist without the authors' work, and that the companies have profited from their exploitative efforts. OpenAI is reportedly generating revenue of approximately $1.3 billion per year, while Microsoft’s stock price has surged. The authors contend that the companies' commercial success has come at the expense of the writers they have relied upon. They argue that unlike readers who purchase books, OpenAI and Microsoft did not pay for the books used to train their models, nor did they seek licenses to copy and exploit the protected expression contained in these copyrighted works. OpenAI and Microsoft have not yet responded to requests for comment.