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The New York Times Files Lawsuit Against Microsoft and OpenAI, Creator of ChatGPT, Alleging Copyright Infringement

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The New York Times Files Lawsuit Against Microsoft and OpenAI, Creator of ChatGPT, Alleging Copyright Infringement

On Wednesday, The New York Times initiated legal action against both Microsoft and OpenAI, the entity behind the widely used AI chatbot ChatGPT. The newspaper alleges copyright infringement and misuse of its intellectual property for training extensive language models. Microsoft, as both an investor in and a supplier to OpenAI, facilitates access to its Azure cloud computing technology. The lawsuit underscores concerns related to the use of proprietary content in the development of AI models, raising legal questions about the boundaries of intellectual property rights in the context of advanced language processing technologies.

In a submission to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the publisher expressed its intention to hold Microsoft and OpenAI accountable for what it claims to be “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages.” The publisher contends that this financial reparation is warranted due to the alleged “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works.” The legal action underscores the publisher’s assertion that the unauthorized utilization of its content has resulted in significant financial losses and seeks redress for the perceived infringement on its proprietary works.

In an emailed statement, The Times acknowledged the potential of GenAI for the public and journalism, emphasizing the importance of obtaining permission for commercial use of journalistic material. While recognizing the power of these tools, The Times asserted that they were constructed using independent journalism and content that was made available through rigorous reporting, editing, and fact-checking, incurring significant costs and expertise. The statement underscores the newspaper’s stance on the ethical and legal use of journalistic content and emphasizes the need for proper authorization when leveraging such material for commercial purposes.

The Times underscored that established copyright law safeguards their journalism and content. Asserting that if Microsoft and OpenAI intend to utilize their work for commercial purposes, legal requirements mandate obtaining permission first. The statement emphasizes that, as of now, such authorization has not been sought or granted by Microsoft and OpenAI.

In a statement, a representative from OpenAI expressed a commitment to respecting the rights of content creators and owners. The statement conveyed OpenAI’s dedication to collaborating with them to ensure they reap the benefits of AI technology and new revenue models. The representative noted that ongoing discussions with The New York Times have been productive and are progressing constructively. The representative further expressed surprise and disappointment at the legal development. Despite this, OpenAI remains hopeful that a mutually beneficial collaboration can be established, akin to the positive partnerships being forged with numerous other publishers.

Requests for comment from a Microsoft representative went unanswered. In the legal proceedings, The Times is being represented by Susman Godfrey, the same litigation firm that previously represented Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation lawsuit against Fox News, resulting in a substantial $787.5 million settlement. Additionally, Susman Godfrey is currently involved in representing author Julian Sancton and other writers in a separate lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft. This particular lawsuit alleges that the companies utilized copyrighted materials without permission in the training of multiple iterations of ChatGPT.

About Rajesh Parmar

Rajesh Parmar

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