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NYT sues OpenAI, Microsoft for alleged copyright infringement

Dec 27, 2023

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From deepfakes to its use in schools and the entertainment industry, Americans have seen artificial intelligence at the center of numerous controversies. In a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, The New York Times sued Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging copyright infringement.

Defendants seek to free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism by using it to build substitutive products without permission or payment.

NYT lawsuit

The lawsuit filed in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 27, claims that OpenAI and Microsoft used the paper’s content to create artificial intelligence products.

AI often uses databases like public records, research publications, and news articles to learn and create content.

While the lawsuit alleged that AI firms “engage in widescale copying from many sources,” it added that OpenAI and Microsoft launched a “particular emphasis” on the Times’ content.

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“Defendants seek to free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism by using it to build substitutive products without permission or payment,” the lawsuit alleged.

The Times said that OpenAI and Microsoft used millions of its articles to train automated chatbots, becoming media competitors as more people turn to AI for reliable information. Though the Times has not specified an amount it is looking for in damages, it did give an estimation in the filing.

“This action seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages that they owe for the unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works,” the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit also calls for AI companies to destroy any chatbots that have been trained using the Times’ content.

According to multiple media outlets, neither Microsoft nor the Times have responded for comment. The lawsuit further exemplifies the complicated relationship between media and AI, as the Times recently hired an editorial director of AI initiatives.

According to the Times’ reporting, the lawsuit also follows a stalemate in its negotiations with OpenAI and Microsoft after it questioned the use of intellectual property.

“The Times reached out to Microsoft and OpenAI in April 2023 to raise intellectual property concerns and explore the possibility of an amicable resolution, with commercial terms and technological guardrails that would allow a mutually beneficial value exchange between Defendants and The Times” the lawsuit said. “These efforts have not produced a resolution.”

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[KARAH RUCKER]

FROM DEEP-FAKES TO ITS USE IN SCHOOLS AND IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY – AMERICANS HAVE SEEN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AT THE CENTER OF NUMEROUS CONTROVERSIES. A REMARKABLE FEAT FOR A TECHNOLOGY STILL IN ITS INFANCY 

NOW IN A FIRST-OF-ITS KIND LAWSUIT THE NEW YORK TIMES IS SUING MICROSOFT AND OPEN AI, ALLEGING COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

THE LAWSUIT FILED IN NEW YORK WEDNESDAY CLAIMS THAT OPEN A-I AND MICROSOFT USED THE PAPER’S CONTENT TO CREATE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PRODUCTS.

AI OFTEN USES DATABASES LIKE PUBLIC RECORDS, RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS, AND NEWS ARTICLES TO LEARN AND CREATE CONTENT.

WHILE THE LAWSUIT ALLEGED THAT AI FIRMS “ENGAGE IN WIDE SCALE COPYING FROM MANY SOURCES.” IT ADDED THAT OPEN A-I AND MICROSOFT LAUNCHED A “PARTICULAR EMPHASIS” ON THE TIMES CONTENT.

“DEFENDANTS SEEK TO FREE-RIDE ON THE TIMES’S MASSIVE INVESTMENT IN ITS JOURNALISM BY USING IT TO BUILD SUBSTITUTIVE PRODUCTS WITHOUT PERMISSION OR PAYMENT.”

[KARAH RUCKER]

THE TIMES SAYS THAT OPEN A-I AND MICROSOFT USED MILLIONS OF ITS ARTICLES TO TRAIN AUTOMATED CHATBOTS – WHICH ARE TURNING INTO A MEDIA COMPETITOR AS MORE PEOPLE TURN TO AI FOR RELIABLE INFORMATION.

THE TIMES HAS NOT SPECIFIED AN AMOUNT IT IS LOOKING FOR IN DAMAGES BUT DID ADD QUOTE:

“THIS ACTION SEEKS TO HOLD THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN STATUTORY AND ACTUAL DAMAGES THAT THEY OWE FOR THE UNLAWFUL COPYING AND USE OF THE TIMES’S UNIQUELY VALUABLE WORKS.”

[KARAH RUCKER]

THE LAWSUIT ALSO CALLS FOR A-I COMPANIES TO DESTROY ANY CHAT-BOTS THAT HAVE BEEN TRAINED USING TIMES CONTENT.

NEITHER MICROSOFT NOR THE TIMES HAVE RESPONDED FOR COMMENT – ACCORDING TO MULTIPLE MEDIA OUTLETS.

THE LAWSUIT FURTHER EXEMPLIFIES THE COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEDIA AND A-I – AS THE TIMES RECENTLY HIRED AN EDITORIAL DIRECTOR OF A-I INITIATIVES A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO.