Digital Media Outlets Sue OpenAI for Copyright Infringement

Digital Media Outlets Sue OpenAI for Copyright Infringement

The media outlets Raw Story, Alternet and The Intercept sued OpenAI for copyright infringement on Wednesday, adding to a growing chorus pushing back against the company’s methods of scraping content off the internet to train its artificial intelligence-powered chatbot.

The online publications sued OpenAI in a New York federal court in two separate cases, saying that the ChatGPT creator trained its chatbot using copyrighted works by journalists without properly crediting or citing them. The companies are seeking damages in the amount of at least $2,500 per violation, as well as asking OpenAI to remove all copyrighted articles from data training sets.

The Intercept also sued Microsoft, an OpenAI partner that developed its own chatbot called Bing with the same copyrighted information, according to the lawsuit.

“It is time that news organizations fight back against Big Tech’s continued attempts to monetize other people’s work,” John Byrne, the chief executive and founder of Raw Story, which owns Alternet, said in a statement. “Big Tech has decimated journalism. It’s time that publishers take a stand.”

OpenAI and Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in the past, OpenAI has said that it wanted to work with publishers to ensure that they could also benefit from A.I. and new revenue models. Microsoft said in September that it would cover the legal costs when customers’ uses of its A.I. products caused copyright concerns and reiterated its commitments to authors’ protected works.

The Intercept also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuits follow The New York Times’s own suit in December against OpenAI and Microsoft on similar grounds. On Monday, OpenAI filed a motion in court to dismiss key elements of The Times’s lawsuit.

Generative A.I. has made waves over the past year as new text and image generators have created increasingly realistic or human-like text, images and video. But it’s also set off major concerns regarding the use of copyrighted works to train the A.I. algorithms, as well as its ability to recreate artistic performances.

The technology became a major issue for actors and writers in Hollywood’s union negotiations last year, and authors and others have sued the A.I. companies over their practices.

The three publications suing OpenAI on Wednesday are digital only, heightening the stakes, the outlets said in their lawsuits. They cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prevents the removal of information like author and title from protected works.

“Raw Story’s copyright-protected journalism is the result of significant efforts of human journalists who report the news,” Roxanne Cooper, Raw Story’s publisher, said in a statement. “Rather than license that work, OpenAI taught ChatGPT to ignore journalists’ copyrights and hide its use of copyright-protected material.”

Kyle C. Garrison

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