New York Times Sues AI Giants For Alleged Copyright Violation

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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The New York Times sued artificial intelligence (AI) giants OpenAI and Microsoft on Wednesday for alleged copyright violation.

OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing Chat are large language models that are trained on data from the internet and generate text based on prompts from users. The tech giants trained these chatbots with millions of the NYT’s copyrighted articles without permission, the outlet alleges in the complaint. (RELATED: The Senate Is Considering An AI Bill That Could Radically Alter The Future Of The Internet)

The NYT is the first large American publication to sue the tech giants, the outlet asserts. The chatbots currently rival the NYT as dependable information sources.

“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 complaint states. “If The Times and other news organizations cannot produce and protect their independent journalism, there will be a vacuum that no computer or artificial intelligence can fill.”

“Less journalism will be produced, and the cost to society will be enormous,” it adds.

While the NYT has spent billions of dollars to produce this content, OpenAI and Microsoft have not paid to use it nor received approval to do so, according to the complaint.

“Times journalism is the work of thousands of journalists, whose employment costs hundreds of millions of dollars per year,” the complaint states. “Defendants have effectively avoided spending the billions of dollars that The Times invested in creating that work by taking it without permission or compensation.”

“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 complaint reads.

OpenAI recently reached a deal with German publishing giant Axel Springer for its chatbot ChatGPT to use “authoritative” and “quality” content from Springer-owned outlets, such as Politico and Business Insider, to answer user questions, Springer announced in a press release. ChatGPT will use news articles from these publications as training information for its responses and provide summaries and linked articles from them.

“We respect the rights of content creators and owners and are committed to working with them to ensure they benefit from AI technology and new revenue models,” an OpenAI spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Our ongoing conversations with the New York Times have been productive and moving forward constructively, so we are surprised and disappointed with this development. We’re hopeful that we will find a mutually beneficial way to work together, as we are doing with many other publishers.”

Microsoft did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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