8 US Newspapers File Suit Against OpenAI and Microsoft for Copyright Infringement

8 US Newspapers File Suit Against OpenAI and Microsoft for Copyright Infringement

Eight prominent US newspapers owned by investment giant Alden Global Capital have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing the tech giants of copyright infringement in the training of their AI chatbots. The suit, filed in the U.S. Southern District of New York, accuses the companies of illegally using millions of news articles to train and feed their AI chatbots, including ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot, without permission or compensation.

The newspapers involved in the lawsuit include:

  1. The New York Daily News
  2. The Chicago Tribune
  3. The Orlando Sentinel
  4. The Sun Sentinel of Florida
  5. The San Jose Mercury News
  6. The Denver Post
  7. The Orange County Register
  8. The St. Paul Pioneer Press

The complaint alleges that OpenAI and Microsoft have engaged in copyright infringement, unfair competition by misappropriation, and trademark dilution. The newspapers claim that the chatbots often reproduce entire articles, including those behind paywalls, without prominently linking back to the source. This practice, they argue, reduces the need for readers to pay for subscriptions and deprives the publishers of revenue from both subscriptions and content licensing.

Frank Pine, the executive editor overseeing Alden's newspapers, stated, "We've spent billions of dollars gathering information and reporting news at our publications, and we can't allow OpenAI and Microsoft to expand the Big Tech playbook of stealing our work to build their own businesses at our expense."

The lawsuit also raises concerns about the accuracy of information provided by the AI chatbots. In one example, ChatGPT recommended a recalled infant lounger that had been linked to infant deaths, falsely claiming that The Chicago Tribune had endorsed the product. In another instance, an AI chatbot fabricated a claim that The Denver Post had published research indicating that smoking could potentially cure asthma.

This lawsuit follows a similar complaint filed by The New York Times against OpenAI and Microsoft in December 2022. While some publications, such as the Financial Times, have struck deals with OpenAI for compensation, the Alden newspapers have chosen to pursue legal action instead.

The New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft for Copyright Infringement Over Use of Articles to Train AI Models
The suit claims that millions of the newspaper’s articles were used without permission to train AI chatbots, directly competing with The Times as a reliable information source.

The outcome of this lawsuit, along with similar cases, could significantly impact how news companies are compensated for their work in the AI era. It raises important questions about the use of online data to train generative AI systems and the potential consequences for traditional media outlets.

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