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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft over AI Infringement

Image credits: Kena Betancur / VIEWpress

The New York Times has raised a legal battle against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging copyright infringement. The heart of the matter? The Times claims these tech giants built their AI models by "copying and using millions" of its articles, creating a direct competition with its content.

The lawsuit points out that OpenAI and Microsoft's large language models (LLMs), which power ChatGPT and Copilot, can generate output that either directly quotes Times content, closely summarises it, or mimics its expressive style. The Times argues that this undermines and damages its relationship with readers and deprives it of "subscription, licensing, advertising, and affiliate revenue."

Furthermore, the complaint suggests that these AI models pose a threat to high-quality journalism by impeding news outlets' ability to protect and monetise content. The Times has been negotiating with both companies for months to reach a fair agreement for the use of its content, but to no avail.

In response, OpenAI spokesperson Lindsey Held expressed surprise and disappointment at the lawsuit, stating that they have been in productive and constructive discussions with the Times. Microsoft has yet to comment.

The Times is seeking "billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages" for alleged copyright infringement. It also requests the court to prohibit OpenAI and Microsoft from using its content to train their AI models and to remove the Times' work from the companies' datasets.

This lawsuit comes as several news outlets, including the BBC, CNN, and Reuters, have blocked OpenAI's web crawler from scraping content from their websites. However, other publications like Axel Springer and the Associated Press have embraced AI, striking deals with OpenAI to train its models on their news stories.

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