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The New York Times sues OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement: «Billions of dollars in damages»

Dec 30, 2023


The US newspaper claims that millions of articles have been used to "train chatbots that now compete with the newspaper as a source of reliable information"

Generative artificial intelligence software in the sights of the New York Times . The US newspaper has sued Open Ai , the company that owns ChatGPT , and Microsoft for infringement of copyright, effectively opening "a new front - writes the NYT itself - in the increasingly intense legal battle" linked to the unauthorized use «of published works to train AI technologies». The lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Manhattan, alleges that millions of articles published by the Times were used "to train automated chatbots that now compete with the newspaper as a source of reliable information", we read in The Gray Lady . Although there is no reference to precise monetary compensation, the NYT underlines that "the defendants should be held responsible for billions of dollars in damages" and also calls for the "cancellation of all chatbot models" that have used material protected by copyright The Times .


AI software as potential competitors


In addition to seeking to protect intellectual property, the lawsuit filed by the newspaper also highlights how ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence systems can become potential competitors in the information sector. “Chatbots can generate responses that are based on past Times investigative reporting ,” it says. In fact, the newspaper fears that readers will be satisfied with the response of a chatbot and will not visit the online version, thus reducing web traffic which can translate into advertising revenue and subscriptions. The legal action filed on Wednesday comes after negotiations with the two companies failed. In its complaint, the Times stated that it had contacted Microsoft and OpenAI last April to raise copyright concerns and therefore propose "an amicable resolution." However, the talks did not lead to any agreement. The NYT is the first major American media organization to sue generative artificial intelligence companies (i.e. capable of generating content after learning from enormous sets of data, be they texts, images, audio or video) for issues of copyright linked to the written texts produced by the journalists of the New York newspaper.
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