New York Times files lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft for alleged copyright infringement

The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging copyright infringement. The newspaper claims that OpenAI and Microsoft used millions of its articles without permission to train chatbots. The lawsuit accuses the companies of attempting to profit from The Times' journalism without compensation. OpenAI and Microsoft argue that their use of the articles falls under fair use. The Times is seeking damages, estimated to be in the billions of dollars, and wants chatbot models and training sets that incorporate its material to be destroyed. The newspaper claims that talks with the defendants to reach a settlement were unsuccessful.

AI companies, including OpenAI, scrape online information to train their chatbots. OpenAI has a valuation of over $80 billion and has received significant investments. In addition to the lawsuit filed by The Times, authors such as David Baldacci, Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, and Scott Turow have also sued OpenAI and Microsoft, claiming that their books have been co-opted by AI systems. Comedian Sarah Silverman and other authors have also sued OpenAI and Meta Platforms for using their works without permission.

This lawsuit comes after the US Supreme Court declined to revive a challenge to Google’s digital library of books in 2014. The court found that Google’s library, which provided snippets of text, constituted fair use. The lawsuit filed by The Times highlights instances in which OpenAI and Microsoft chatbots provided near-verbatim excerpts of its articles. The Times argues that this reduces the perceived need for readers to visit its website, potentially impacting advertising and subscription revenue. The newspaper also claims that the chatbots make it difficult for readers to distinguish between fact and fiction, leading to misinformation.

The Times acknowledges the potential of generative AI for journalism but emphasizes that permission and fair compensation should be provided for the use of its work.