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New York Times Files Lawsuit Against OpenAI and Microsoft Over Copyright Infringement
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On Wednesday, the New York Times (NYT.N) took legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft (MSFT.O). The renowned media giant alleges that the two tech behemoths utilized millions of its articles without authorization to train various artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including ChatGPT and other AI platforms developed by Microsoft.

Groundbreaking Lawsuit Marks a First for Major U.S. Media

The New York Times asserts itself as the inaugural major U.S. media organization to bring a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft on the grounds of copyright infringement. The complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, accuses the defendants of capitalizing on The Times’s substantial investment in journalism without obtaining permission or making proper compensation.

Content Utilization: A ‘Free-Ride’ on The Times’s Investment

According to the filed complaint, The Times accuses OpenAI and Microsoft of attempting to “free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism by using it to build substitutive products without permission or payment.” The newspaper contends that the defendants unlawfully leverage its content to develop products that act as substitutes for The Times, diverting audiences without due acknowledgment or remuneration.

  
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Lack of Transformation in Content Use

Contrary to claims of transformative use, The Times argues that using its content without payment to create products that substitute for its offerings and lure audiences away lacks genuine transformative value. The lawsuit emphasizes the alleged non-transformative nature of the defendants’ actions, challenging the ethical and legal grounds for utilizing The Times’s content without proper authorization.

Silence from OpenAI and Microsoft

Currently, OpenAI and Microsoft have not responded to requests for comment regarding the lawsuit. The lack of commentary from the accused parties adds to the intrigue surrounding the legal battle initiated by The Times.

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Damages Estimated in Billions

While The Times has refrained from specifying a particular amount of damages sought, it contends that OpenAI and Microsoft have caused “billions of dollars” in damages. The newspaper also seeks an order to destroy chatbot models and training sets incorporating its proprietary material.

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Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Dynamics

OpenAI operates as a non-profit entity, while Microsoft has invested a substantial $13 billion in a for-profit subsidiary, securing a 49% stake. This unique dynamic raises questions about the intersection of non-profit and for-profit interests in the rapidly evolving landscape of AI development.

Widening Legal Horizon: Notable Authors Join the Fray

Beyond The New York Times, notable authors have also entered the legal arena against OpenAI and Microsoft. Renowned novelists such as David Baldacci, Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, and Scott Turow have filed lawsuits in the Manhattan court. Their claims assert that AI systems may have improperly incorporated tens of thousands of their literary works.

Sarah Silverman’s Allegations in July

The legal challenges extend beyond the realm of literature. In a separate lawsuit in July, comedian Sarah Silverman sued OpenAI and Meta Platforms (META.O) in San Francisco. Silverman alleges that her book, “The Bedwetter,” was allegedly “ingested” to train ChatGPT, adding another layer of complexity to the legal battles facing OpenAI.

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