OpenAI and Microsoft Face Copyright Lawsuit from NY Times

The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing them of using millions of the newspaper’s articles without permission to train chatbots. The Times claims to be the first major U.S. media organization to sue OpenAI and Microsoft over copyright issues. The newspaper’s complaint alleges that the companies are attempting to use The Times’s content to deliver information to readers without payment. OpenAI and Microsoft argue that their use of copyrighted works falls under the legal doctrine of “fair use.” The Times is seeking damages in the billions of dollars and requests that OpenAI and Microsoft destroy chatbot models and training sets that incorporate its material.

Other authors, including David Baldacci, Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, and Scott Turow, have also sued OpenAI and Microsoft, claiming that their books may have been co-opted by AI systems. Comedian Sarah Silverman and other authors have sued OpenAI in San Francisco for the use of their works. The Times’s lawsuit comes seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a challenge to Google’s digital library of books. A federal appeals court had previously ruled that Google’s library constituted fair use.

The Times cites several instances where OpenAI and Microsoft chatbots reproduced excerpts of its articles. The defendants' chatbots not only threaten the Times' business by reducing traffic and potential revenue but also make it difficult for readers to distinguish fact from misinformation. The Times claims that the chatbot falsely attributed information to the newspaper and created instances of misinformation. The newspaper recognizes the potential of generative AI for journalism but asserts that the use of their work must come with permission and fair value agreements.

In response to the lawsuit, OpenAI stated that their ongoing conversations with The New York Times have been productive and expressed surprise and disappointment at the lawsuit. Microsoft has not yet commented on the matter.