The New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft For Copyright Infringement on AI

IBL News | New York

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on Wednesday, the paper reported.

In its lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, The Times said OpenAI and Microsoft used unauthorized published work in the form of millions of articles to train their AI technologies.

The suit calls for the companies to destroy any chatbot models and training data that use copyrighted material from The Times.

The paper is the first major American media organization to sue the creators of ChatGPT.

The lawsuit doesn’t claim an exact amount of money, but it holds OpenAI and Microsoft responsible for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages.” They both declined to comment on the case.

The lawsuit could carry major implications for the news industry.

OpenAI is now valued by investors at more than $80 billion. Microsoft has committed $13 billion to OpenAI and has incorporated the company’s technology into its Bing search engine.

The lawsuit filed on Wednesday apparently follows an impasse in negotiations involving The Times, Microsoft, and OpenAI. In its complaint, The Times said that it approached Microsoft and OpenAI in April to raise concerns about the use of its intellectual property and explore “an amicable resolution” — possibly involving a commercial agreement and “technological guardrails” around generative A.I. products — but that the talks reached no resolution.

The lawsuit also highlights the potential damage to The Times’s brand through so-called AI “hallucinations.” The complaint cites several cases in which Microsoft’s Bing Chat provided incorrect information that was said to have come from The Times, including results for “the 15 most heart-healthy foods,” 12 of which were not mentioned in an article by the paper.

Microsoft has previously acknowledged potential copyright concerns over its AI products. In September, the company announced that if customers using its AI tools were hit with copyright complaints, it would indemnify them and cover the associated legal costs.

The Times retained the law firm Susman Godfrey as its lead outside counsel for the litigation. Susman represented Dominion Voting Systems in its defamation case against Fox News, which resulted in a $787.5 million settlement in April. Susman also filed a proposed class action suit last month against Microsoft and OpenAI on behalf of nonfiction authors whose books and other copyrighted material were used to train the companies’ chatbots.