The New York Times has sued OpenAI and Microsoft on Wednesday, accusing them of using millions of the newspaper's articles without permission to help train chatbots to provide information to readers.
The Times said it is the first major U.S. media organization to sue OpenAI, creator of the popular artificial-intelligence platform ChatGPT, and Microsoft, an OpenAI investor and creator of the AI platform now known as Copilot, over copyright issues associated with its works.
The lawsuit claims "millions" of articles published by the New York Times were used without its permission to make ChatGPT smarter, and claims the tool is now competing with the newspaper as a trustworthy information source.
It alleges that when asked about current events, ChatGPT will sometimes generate "verbatim excerpts" from New York Times articles, which cannot be accessed without paying for a subscription.
According to the lawsuit, this means readers can get New York Times content without paying for it - meaning it is losing out on subscription revenue as well as advertising clicks from people visiting the website.
“These bots compete with the content they are trained on,” said Ian B. Crosby, partner and lead counsel at Susman Godfrey, which is representing The Times.
An OpenAI spokesperson said in a prepared statement that the company respects the rights of content creators and is “committed” to working with them to help them benefit from the technology and new revenue models.
“Our ongoing conversations with the New York Times have been productive and moving forward constructively, so we are surprised and disappointed with this development,”
the spokesperson said.
“We’re hopeful that we will find a mutually beneficial way to work together, as we are doing with many other publishers.”