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New York Times Sues Microsoft and OpenAI Over Copyright Infringement in AI Development

A recent legal action has been initiated by The New York Times against Microsoft and OpenAI, the developers of the renowned AI chatbot ChatGPT. The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York's U.S. District Court, alleges that these companies have engaged in copyright infringement by utilizing the newspaper's content to develop large language models without permission.


Microsoft, a key investor in OpenAI, provides the AI firm with Azure cloud computing resources. The New York Times asserts that its proprietary content has been used unlawfully, leading to significant financial damages. Despite acknowledging the potential benefits of AI for the public and journalism, the Times emphasizes the need for obtaining consent before using journalistic materials for commercial purposes.


OpenAI and Microsoft are accused of building their tools using content from independent journalism, which the Times and others produce at a high cost and with expertise. The lawsuit claims that settled copyright law protects such journalistic content, and commercial use requires prior authorization, which has not been granted in this case.


OpenAI, in response, expressed disappointment with the lawsuit, noting their respect for content creators' rights and their willingness to collaborate for mutual benefit. However, a representative for Microsoft did not comment on the matter.


The litigation firm Susman Godfrey, known for its involvement in high-profile cases, represents The New York Times. The firm previously handled Dominion Voting Systems' defamation suit against Fox News, resulting in a significant settlement, and is also representing authors in a similar case against OpenAI and Microsoft.


The lawsuit is part of a broader challenge by media organizations seeking compensation from AI companies for using their content in AI training. The Times points out that AI models like ChatGPT are being trained with copyrighted material, creating content that closely resembles the original sources.


In an effort to address these concerns, OpenAI has formed a licensing agreement with Axel Springer, but the financial details of this partnership remain undisclosed.


The New York Times' lawsuit highlights several instances where AI models have reproduced and altered its content, directly competing with the original material and potentially impacting its revenue streams. The lawsuit underscores the tension between the development of advanced AI technologies and the rights of content creators.

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