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U.S. Newspapers Sue OpenAI and Microsoft Over Alleged Copyright Infringement

U.S. Newspapers Sue OpenAI and Microsoft Over Alleged Copyright Infringement

May 1, 2024

U.S. Newspapers Sue OpenAI and Microsoft Over Alleged Copyright Infringement

Eight U.S. newspapers have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft in a New York federal court on Tuesday, alleging copyright infringement related to the training of artificial intelligence technologies such as ChatGPT and Copilot.

The plaintiff newspapers, which include prominent names like The New York Daily News and The Chicago Tribune, are part of a newspaper group owned by Alden Global Capital. This Florida-based investment firm became the second-largest U.S. newspaper group after acquiring Tribune publishing chain in 2021, trailing only behind USA Today owner Gannett.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants, OpenAI and Microsoft, are accused of "purloining millions of the publishers’ copyrighted articles without permission and without payment." This infringement, the suit claims, was to advance the commercial success of their generative AI products, including OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's Copilot.

The court filing makes a clear demand: "Defendants must both obtain the publishers’ consent to use their content and pay fair value for such use," it asserts.

The newspapers allege that OpenAI and Microsoft not only used their content without authorization but also presented verbatim excerpts from full articles. Furthermore, they contend that the AI sometimes generated misleading or inaccurate reporting that was attributed to the publications.

The list of newspapers involved in this legal action extends to The Orlando Sentinel, The Sun Sentinel of Florida, The San Jose Mercury News, The Denver Post, The Orange County Register, and The St. Paul Pioneer Press.

In response to the accusations, OpenAI issued a statement which did not directly address the lawsuit's claims but emphasized the company's commitment to supporting news organizations. OpenAI highlighted ongoing "constructive partnerships and conversations with many news organizations around the world" to address concerns and offer solutions. The company mentioned its collaborations with various news outlets, such as The Associated Press and Le Monde, which have chosen partnership over litigation.

This recent legal challenge mirrors a similar case brought forward by The New York Times in December, where OpenAI faced accusations of improperly using content to train its AI. In that instance, OpenAI countered by claiming that the use of publicly available information, including news articles for AI training, constitutes fair use. The company also accused The New York Times of bending ChatGPT's user guidelines to generate content in support of its allegations.

Microsoft, another party to the lawsuit, has opted not to comment on the ongoing suit.

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