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Prominent Authors Drag OpenAI to Court Over Copyright Infringement

Published September 22, 2023
9 months ago

A lawsuit has been filed by the Authors Guild in a New York federal court against OpenAI, implicating the AI firm in a controversy over copyright. The guild, which includes accomplished authors like John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Jodi Picoult, and 'Game Of Thrones' scribe George RR Martin, claims the AI firm has unlawfully trained its AI-based chatbot, ChatGPT on their intellectual property.

The renowned Microsoft-backed firm OpenAI, is among a handful of generative AI providers currently facing similar accusations. Litigation is also underway against companies like Meta Platforms and Stability AI over concerns regarding the data utilized to train their AI systems.

The suit, filed on Tuesday, adds names like Michael Connelly - author of 'The Lincoln Lawyer', along with lawyer-turned-novelists David Baldacci and Scott Turow to the aggrieved party. OpenAI, however, maintains that the data procured from the internet for training purposes falls under the fair use domain of US copyright law.

In response to the lawsuit, OpenAI acknowledged the rights of authors, revealing ongoing dialogues with various creators globally, including those from the Authors Guild. CEO of the Authors Guild, Mary Rasenberger emphasized the importance of an author's control over the usage of their works by generative AI to safeguard our literary heritage.

The guild's legal action pinpoints the training datasets used by OpenAI to teach its language model to interact with humans, suggesting that it includes text from illegally downloaded books. The objection extended to the fact that ChatGPT could reproduce accurate summaries of the authors' works when prompted, indicating that their works were part of its memory bank. Increasing apprehensions about authors being superseded by systems like ChatGPT, able to generate low-quality ebooks, have also been voiced in the complaint.

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