July 10, 2024
OpenAI, Microsoft and The New York Times l

The New York Times has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that the two businesses constructed their AI models by “copying and using millions” of the publication’s stories and now “directly compete” with its material as a consequence.

The Times claims that OpenAI and Microsoft’s large language models (LLMs), which enable ChatGPT and Copilot, “can generate output that recites Times content verbatim, closely summarises it, and mimics its expressive style.” The Times claims that this “undermines and damages” its connection with readers while also depriving it of “subscription, licencing, advertising, and affiliate revenue.”

The complaint also claims that these AI models “threaten high-quality journalism” by impairing news organisations’ capacity to safeguard and commercialise material. “Through Microsoft’s Bing Chat (recently rebranded as “Copilot”) and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, 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 lawsuit alleges.

A lawsuit claims OpenAI copied millions of Times’ articles to train the language models that power ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot

Meanwhile, the complaint claims that the release of AI models based on Times articles has been “extremely lucrative” for both Microsoft and OpenAI. The journal claims it tried for months to negotiate with both corporations to “ensure it received fair value for the use of its content,” but was unable to reach an agreement.

“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,” said Lindsey Held, an OpenAI spokesman, in an emailed statement to The Verge.

The New York Times

“Our ongoing discussions with the New York Times have been fruitful and constructive, so we are surprised and disappointed by this development.” We want to find a mutually advantageous approach to collaborate, as we have with many other publications.” Microsoft did not react quickly to The Verge’s request for comment.

The newspaper is suing both firms for alleged copyright infringement, seeking “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” for illegally duplicating its works. It also wants the court to stop OpenAI and Microsoft from using its material to train their AI models, and to delete the Times’ work from the firms’ databases.

The New York Times is one of several news organisations that have disabled OpenAI’s web crawler in recent months, prohibiting the AI firm from scraping information from its website and utilising the data to train AI models. The BBC, CNN, and Reuters have also decided to disable OpenAI’s web crawler. Other publishers, on the other hand, are embracing AI — or, at the very least, the rewards that come with it. Axel Springer, which owns Politico and Business Insider, inked a contract with OpenAI earlier this month that allows ChatGPT to get information directly from both sources, while the Associated Press will train OpenAI models on its news items over the next two years.