Nonfiction authors Nicholas Basbanes and Nicholas Gage have filed a copyright lawsuit against OpenAI and its financial backer, Microsoft. The authors allege that their works were improperly used to train OpenAI’s GPT large language model, the technology behind popular AI-based services such as ChatGPT.
Basbanes and Gage, both former journalists, contend that OpenAI and Microsoft utilized their copyrighted works without permission as part of the data used to train the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) large language model.
The lawsuit, filed as a proposed class action, claims that the companies infringed on the copyrights of numerous authors whose works have been incorporated into the training datasets.
This legal action is a series of lawsuits filed by authors, both fiction and nonfiction, against tech companies over alleged misuse of their works in training AI programs.
Cases include comedian Sarah Silverman and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. The New York Times also recently sued OpenAI and Microsoft for using its journalists’ work without permission for AI training.
The authors’ lawyer, Michael Richter, expresses outrage at the companies’ actions, stating that it is unacceptable for them to power a billion-dollar industry without compensating the creators of the content that fuels their AI systems.
Basbanes and Gage seek damages of up to $150,000 for each work that the defendants allegedly infringed.
The lawsuit is to represent a class of writers whose copyrighted material has been systematically used by OpenAI and Microsoft for training purposes. The size of this class is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
The authors liken the companies actions to theft, asserting that they are no different from any other infringer.
The lawsuit raises ethical concerns about the use of copyrighted material to build lucrative AI systems without compensating the creators.
The Microsoft have faced legal challenges regarding copyright infringement. In September of the previous year, the Authors’ Guild, along with well-known authors like Jonathan Franzen and George R.R. Martin, filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the company.
Authors Michael Chabon, David Henry Hwang, Rachel Louise Snyder, and Ayelet Waldman also filed a lawsuit in the same month, claiming that OpenAI benefited and profited from the unauthorized and illegal use of their copyrighted content.
The complaint accused the company of copying authors’ works wholesale, without permission, for training large language models.
OpenAI has defended its practices, stating that the content generated by ChatGPT does not constitute derivative work and, therefore, does not infringe on any copyright.
However, the growing number of lawsuits shows a discontent within the creative community about the use of their works in AI development without proper compensation.
Google is facing a lawsuit filed by the Clarkson Law Firm, alleging data scraping from millions of users without consent.
The lawsuit targets Google, Alphabet and AI subsidiary DeepMind, claiming violations of copyright laws in training their AI products.
The amended complaint introduces fresh claims, asserting Google’s violation of ownership and property rights of third-party websites by scraping user data.