Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against tech giants OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging copyright infringement and unauthorized use of its extensive collection of articles to train artificial intelligence chatbots, including ChatGPT.

The legal action, filed in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, positions The Times as the first major American media organization to take on AI developers in a dispute over copyright issues related to their written works.

The lawsuit contends that millions of articles from The Times were exploited to train automated chatbots, now functioning as competitors to the renowned news outlet in providing reliable information.

The lawsuit, while not specifying an exact monetary demand, insists that OpenAI and Microsoft should be held accountable for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” resulting from the “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works.”

It further demands the destruction of any chatbot models and training data utilizing copyrighted material from The Times.

In April, The Times had engaged in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI to address concerns about intellectual property use. However, the talks failed to yield a resolution, leading to the legal action.

OpenAI expressed surprise and disappointment, stating that they were working constructively with The Times and hoping for a mutually beneficial resolution. Microsoft declined to comment on the case.

The lawsuit poses a significant challenge to the legal boundaries surrounding generative AI technologies, raising questions about copyright in the age of AI.

The Times argues that OpenAI and Microsoft aim to “free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism,” accusing them of creating products that substitute for The Times and divert audiences away.

The legal battle adds to the growing concerns about the uncompensated use of intellectual property by AI systems, echoing similar lawsuits involving other creative industries.

The lawsuit emphasizes potential competition in the news business, as AI chatbots draw on The Times’s journalism for generating responses to current events.

The Times aims not only to protect its intellectual property but also highlights potential damage to its brand caused by AI “hallucinations,” instances where chatbots provide false information wrongly attributed to the news source.

The complaint underscores the importance of independent journalism and the societal cost if news organizations cannot produce and protect their content.

This landmark case could shape the future of copyright law in the era of artificial intelligence, with potential implications for the news industry and the development of AI technologies.

The Times, known for its successful online journalism model, seeks to safeguard its investment in journalism and maintain its position in the evolving landscape of AI-driven information dissemination.

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