Microsoft and OpenAI were sued for “copyright infringement” yet again


Two non-fiction authors have sued Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor, and Sam Altman-led OpenAI, claiming that the companies “simply stole” their copyrighted works to create a “billion-dollar artificial intelligence (AI) system.”

The New York Times (NYT) has already filed a lawsuit against the AI pioneer and the Satya Nadella-led tech behemoth, alleging that they trained their automated chatbots by reading “millions” of NYT articles.

What is said in the most recent lawsuit?

In a motion filed on Friday in a Manhattan federal court, authors Nicholas Basbanes and Nicholas Gage assert that OpenAI’s system is trained by consuming “massive amounts of written material,” including books authored by the two former journalists.

In their lawsuit, Basbanes and Gage claimed that Microsoft and OpenAI are “no different than any other thief” and that they are trying to represent a group of authors whose copyrighted work has been “systematically pilfered” by the two corporations.

According to the lawsuit, there were “tens of thousands of people” in that “class,” and each of the two parties’ “infringed” works could result in damages of up to $15,000.

“It’s pretty outrageous what OpenAI did with copyrighted work without permission.” Their attorney, Basbanes’ son-in-law Mike Richter, said, “It’s like a homeowner saying they shouldn’t have to pay for insulation, plumbing, and other stuff hidden behind a house because it’s not visible.”

OpenAI already sued

Up to 17 well-known American non-fiction writers sued the San Francisco-based creator of ChatGPT in September of last year. Among them was George R.R. Martin, whose book series A Song of Ice and Fire was turned into the critically acclaimed HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

They also charged the AI company with violating copyright.

The New York Times sued Microsoft and OpenAI, the company behind the well-known AI chatbot ChatGPT, on Wednesday, claiming that the two had violated copyright laws and had misused the publication’s intellectual property to train massive language models.

Microsoft provides OpenAI with access to its Azure cloud computing infrastructure in addition to investing in the latter.

The publisher claims it is owed “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” by Microsoft and OpenAI for their “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works,” and it filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to pursue these claims.

In an email, The Times stated that it “recognizes the power and value of GenAI for the public and journalism,” but it also stated that news content should only be used for profit after obtaining the source’s consent.

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