The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft for alleged copyright infringement. According to the lawsuit, OpenAI supposedly used millions of articles from The New York Times to train language models, such as ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot, resulting in a direct competition with the Times’ content.
The lawsuit claims that the language models created by OpenAI and Microsoft can replicate Times’ content verbatim, summarize it closely, and imitate its unique style. This alleged action has been argued to damage the Times’ relationship with its readers and also impede its revenue streams including subscriptions, advertising, and affiliate earnings.
Moreover, the complaint suggests that these AI models pose a threat to quality journalism by hindering news outlets’ ability to safeguard and profit from their content. Microsoft’s Copilot and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, as per the lawsuit, capitalize on The New York Times’ substantial investment in journalism without proper consent or compensation.
Reportedly, the release of AI models trained on Times’ content has been highly profitable for both Microsoft and OpenAI. Despite the Times’ attempts to negotiate fair terms for the use of its content, no amicable resolution has been reached.
In response to the lawsuit, OpenAI’s spokesperson Lindsey Held expressed surprise and disappointment, emphasizing their commitment to collaborating with content creators for mutual benefit. Microsoft, however, is yet to provide a comment on the matter.
The lawsuit seeks accountability from both companies for billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages for allegedly reproducing the Times’ works. It further demands a court order to prevent OpenAI and Microsoft from using its content for training AI models and removing its work from their datasets.
Notably, The New York Times is among several news outlets that have taken measures to prevent OpenAI from scraping their content for AI training. BBC, CNN, and Reuters are among those blocking OpenAI’s web crawler. Nevertheless, other publications like Politico and Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, have opted to collaborate with OpenAI, allowing the use of their content for AI training.
As of December 27th, there has been no immediate response from Microsoft concerning the lawsuit, and the legal proceedings between The New York Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft continue.