The New York Times has initiated a legal action against artificial intelligence technology companies for violation of copyright laws.
On Wednesday, The New York Times initiated a legal case against Microsoft and OpenAI, claiming that the organizations’ AI models violate the newspaper’s intellectual property rights.
According to documents seen by VOA, the complaint claims that OpenAI and Microsoft utilized “millions of The Times’s copyrighted news articles” to develop AI models for chatbots that are now in competition with the newspaper as a source of information.
This is the initial instance of a major U.S. media company filing a lawsuit against the creators of ChatGPT, a generative AI chatbot, and other AI tools. The lawsuit highlights concerns raised by news outlets in the last year regarding the impact of generative AI on journalism, finances, and legal matters.
The legal case does not state a fixed amount of money, but it does argue that the defendants should be responsible for “billions of dollars in either mandated or real damages.”
The complaint alleges that OpenAI and Microsoft are taking advantage of The Times’s extensive investment in journalism by using its content without compensation. This is seen as a way to create products that compete with The Times and draw away its audience.
A representative from OpenAI stated that the company values the rights of content creators and owners and is dedicated to collaborating with them to ensure they receive the benefits of AI technology and new streams of income.
The spokesperson stated that they have been having productive discussions with The New York Times and are disappointed with this sudden change. They remain hopeful for a positive resolution and continue to work well with other publishers.
The Times filed a complaint stating that they had reached out to Microsoft and OpenAI in the spring out of concern for their intellectual property, but the discussions were not successful.
VOA’s emails requesting comment were not immediately replied to by Microsoft.
A group of well-known authors, such as John Grishman and Elin Hilderbrand, filed a lawsuit in September against OpenAI. They claim that the company violated copyright laws by utilizing their books to train ChatGPT without obtaining permission.
According to a report from VOA, media organizations are also fighting against the dominance of “big tech” in other countries. In fact, more than 80 Spanish media organizations are currently suing Meta for $600 million, citing unfair competition.
At that time, a representative for Meta stated that the company had not yet received any legal documents and therefore could not provide a comment.
In November, Google and the Canadian government came to a deal regarding the Online News Act. Under this agreement, Google would still utilize Canadian news on their online platform and make yearly payments of approximately $100 million to news organizations.
The implementation of AI technology has raised ethical and practical concerns for media organizations within the last year.
Several organizations, such as the Associated Press and German company Axel Springer, which owns Politico and Business Insider, have formed agreements with OpenAI.
However, approximately 600 media companies have implemented blockers in an attempt to prevent the technology from accessing content for no cost.
According to Ben Welsh, a news applications editor for Reuters who conducted a survey of news organizations for his media blog, at least half of the publishers are hesitant to simply be included in the Open AI company’s plans without any discussion or negotiation. They want to have a say in the matter and put a stop to it if necessary.