Digital News Outlets Sue OpenAI Over Unauthorized Use of Journalism in AI Training

Financial Threat to News Industry Prompts Lawsuit Alleging Copyright Infringement

This image was created with the use of AI.
ChatGPT Keeps getting In Trouble Over Content Theft

Digital news outlets, including The Intercept, Raw Story, and AlterNet, have taken legal action against OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, filing a lawsuit that claims copyright infringement. The organizations contend that OpenAI utilized thousands of their news stories without proper authorization, payment, or credit to train its chatbots. This move by the digital news outlets aligns with The New York Times’ lawsuit filed in December, highlighting the news industry’s growing concern over the unauthorized use of its content in AI applications.

OpenAI Faces Lawsuit

OpenAI, based in San Francisco, has not provided an immediate response to the lawsuit. The lawsuit underscores the financial threat perceived by the news industry, which has been grappling with challenges such as declining revenues and the need for sustainable business models.

This however is not the first time OpenAI has landed itself in hot water. We saw the Hollywood strikes and other lawsuits that have come flooding in over the past 12 months.

News Outlets Respond to Financial Challenges

Some news outlets, including The Associated Press, have attempted to address this issue through licensing agreements for the use of their content. The New York Times, after unsuccessful negotiations, initiated its legal action against OpenAI to either stop the unauthorized use of its material or seek compensation.

Copyright Challenges for Digital Publications

While The New York Times, as a print publication, has the capacity to obtain federal copyright registration for its material in bulk, digital publications face different challenges. Digital news outlets lack the ability to secure bulk copyright registration but argue that their journalism is still protected by copyright, even without formal registration.

Allegations Against ChatGPT

The lawsuit targets OpenAI’s ChatGPT, alleging that the AI model mimics copyrighted works of journalism to generate responses. The complaint suggests that ChatGPT creates an impression of being an “all-knowing ‘intelligent’ source” while frequently relying on copyrighted news content.

Legal Actions Against OpenAI

Notable figures, including comedian Sarah Silverman, have previously sued OpenAI for copyright infringement. The Intercept lists Microsoft as a defendant in the lawsuit, as the tech giant has invested significantly in OpenAI’s AI initiatives. However, Raw Story and AlterNet, which also joined the legal action, did not include Microsoft as a defendant due to existing news partnerships with the company.

this is an ai image of a dog pretending to be a lawyer
AI can achieve so much in our world. But so far all the general public are seeing is copying content.

Seeking Damages and Sending a Message

The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $2,500 for each instance of copyright infringement, aiming to address concerns about the unauthorized use of journalistic content in AI training models. Annie Chabel, CEO of The Intercept, commented on the lawsuit, stating, “As newsrooms throughout the country are decimated by financial imperatives to cut back, OpenAI reaps the benefits of our content. We hope this lawsuit will send a strong message to AI developers who choose to ignore our copyrights and free ride on the hard work of our journalists.”

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