AI Wars: New York Times Considers Legal Action Against OpenAI over ChatGPT Copyright Concerns


The New York Times is considering taking legal action against OpenAI, the creator of the massively popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, amid growing tensions over copyright infringement.

NPR reports that the New York Times is weighing the possibility of suing OpenAI, the company behind the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, to protect its intellectual property rights. The potential lawsuit comes after weeks of tense negotiations between the two parties over a licensing deal that would allow OpenAI to incorporate the Times‘ stories into its AI tools.

ChatGPT and OpenAI emblems are displayed on February 21, 2023. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

According to sources with direct knowledge of the discussions, the talks have become so contentious that the newspaper is now considering legal action. The individuals, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, confirmed that the Times‘ lawyers are exploring the possibility of suing OpenAI.

The potential lawsuit would mark one of the most high-profile legal battles over copyright protection in the age of generative AI. A major concern for the Times is that ChatGPT, which creates text that answers questions based on the original reporting and writing of the paper’s staff, is becoming a direct competitor. This fear is heightened by the fact that tech companies are increasingly using generative AI tools in search engines. Microsoft, for example, has invested billions into OpenAI and is now powering its Bing search engine with ChatGPT.

According to a source in the discussions, if a person receives an AI-generated response that summarizes content from the Times when they search online, their incentive to visit the publisher’s website greatly decreases. Large language models like ChatGPT have scraped vast parts of the internet to assemble data that inform how the chatbot responds to various inquiries, often without permission. Whether this data-mining is legal remains an open question.

If OpenAI is found to have infringed upon any copyrights during this process, federal law permits the infringing articles to be destroyed upon the conclusion of the case. Daniel Gervais, the co-director of the intellectual property program at Vanderbilt University who studies generative AI, commented: “If you’re copying millions of works, you can see how that becomes a number that becomes potentially fatal for a company. Copyright law is a sword that’s going to hang over the heads of AI companies for several years unless they figure out how to negotiate a solution.”

Read more at NPR here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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