Authors Sue OpenAI Over Copyright Infringement by Chatbot Technology
A group of prominent novelists, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the company of infringing on their copyrights. The authors claim that OpenAI used their books to train its popular chatbot, ChatGPT, without their permission or compensation.
The complaint, filed along with the Authors Guild, argues that ChatGPT is capable of producing derivative works that mimic and summarize the authors’ books, potentially harming the market for their work. The lawsuit states that OpenAI admitted to using copyrighted material, even though it does not publicly disclose which works it uses to train its models.
The Authors Guild suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, has gained attention due to its high-profile plaintiffs, which include bestselling novelists like George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, and David Baldacci. These authors allege that ChatGPT has an in-depth understanding of their books, producing detailed information about minor characters that is not available in reviews or online sources.
OpenAI has not yet commented on the lawsuit. However, this legal battle highlights concerns about the encroachment of artificial intelligence on creative industries, with authors, publishers, and retailers trying to address the disruptive impact of AI-generated content. Amazon, for example, has taken steps to monitor and limit AI-generated books on its platform, while also considering the disclosure of such books to customers.
Additional lawsuits have been filed by authors against OpenAI and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Experts have varying opinions about the outcome of copyright infringement claims against A.I. programs. Some argue that if an A.I. program uses copyrighted works but generates new and substantially different content, it may constitute fair use. However, others believe this lawsuit’s argument favors the authors, asserting that copying the content into a database without permission is an infringement itself.
Mary Bly, a historical romance novelist known as Eloisa James, joined the Authors Guild suit to emphasize the need for technology companies to respect boundaries and license authors’ works when training A.I. models. The outcome of this legal battle could have significant implications for the future of copyright and A.I. innovation.
Sources: The New York Times, NPR