“ChatGPT creator confronts New York Times over ‘fair use’ of copyrighted work” | Daily List

A slew of lawsuits in New York federal court will test the future of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence products, which wouldn’t be as eloquent if they didn’t ingest vast amounts of copyrighted human work.

But do artificial intelligence chatbots—in this case, widely sold products made by OpenAI and its business partner Microsoft—violate copyright and fair competition laws? Professional writers and media organizations will face an uphill battle to win this argument in court.

“I would like to be optimistic on behalf of the authors, but that’s not the case. I think they face an uphill battle,” said Ashima Agarwal, a copyright attorney who works for publishing giant John Wiley & Sons.

One of the lawsuits comes from The New York Times. The other is by such famous novelists as John Grisham, Jody Picoult, and George R.R. Martin. The third comes from best-selling nonfiction authors, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer on whom the hit film “Oppenheimer” was based.


Each lawsuit makes different arguments, but they all focus on the fact that San Francisco-based OpenAI “used other people’s intellectual property to create this product,” attorney Justin Nelson said. New York Times.

“What OpenAI means is that from the beginning it is free to take over anyone’s intellectual property as long as it’s on the internet,” Nielsen said.

The New York Times filed a lawsuit in December accusing ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot chatbots of competing with the same media organizations they were trained on and diverting web traffic from newspapers and other rights holders who rely on advertising revenue. their journalism. He also provided evidence that the chatbot repeated the New York Times article verbatim. In other cases, chatbots mistakenly attributed misinformation to the newspaper, damaging its reputation.

So far, a federal judge is hearing all three cases, along with a quarter of two other nonfiction writers who filed another lawsuit last week. U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein has served on the Manhattan court since 1995, when he was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton.


OpenAI and Microsoft have yet to file a formal rebuttal to the New York case, but OpenAI issued a public statement this week calling the New York Times lawsuit “meritless” and noting that the chatbot’s ability to repeat certain articles verbatim was “unreasonable.” Ordinary failure.”

“Using publicly accessible materials on the Internet to train artificial intelligence models is a legitimate use, as evidenced by long-standing and widely accepted precedent,” the company said on its blog on Monday. He also advised New York Times “guides the model to replicate it, or select examples of it from among many attempts.”

OpenAI pointed to licensing deals it signed last year with the Associated Press, German media company Axel Springer and other organizations as examples of how the company is working to support a healthy news ecosystem. OpenAI paid an undisclosed amount to license the AP news archive. The New York Times had a similar conversation before deciding to sue.

OpenAI said this year that access to AP’s “archive of high-quality, fact-based texts” would enhance the capabilities of its artificial intelligence systems. But his blog this week downplayed the news of AI training, arguing that large language models learn from “a vast body of human knowledge” and that “any single data source — including The New York Times — has little to say about what to expect from AI. Learning is not important. Model.”

Who will win?

Much of the AI ​​industry’s argument rests on U.S. copyright law’s “fair use” doctrine, which allows limited use of copyrighted material for teaching, research, or transforming the protected work into something different.

In response, the legal team representing the New York Times wrote on Tuesday that OpenAI and Microsoft’s approach “is not fair use under any circumstances” because they are leveraging the paper’s investment in its journalism “without permission or permission.” License to manufacture substitute products.” Pay. “

So far, courts have largely sided with tech companies in interpreting how copyright law should treat AI systems. Last year, a federal judge in San Francisco dismissed much of the first major lawsuit against an artificial intelligence image generator, a defeat for visual artists. Another California judge has rejected comedian Sarah Silverman’s argument that Facebook parent company Meta violated her autobiographical rights to build its artificial intelligence model.

The most recent lawsuit provides more detailed evidence of alleged harm, but Agarwal said the courts “don’t seem to be convinced” when it comes to using copyrighted content to train “artificial intelligence systems that serve small portions of content to users.” Not inclined to consider this” copyright infringement. “

Tech companies point to Google’s successful rejection of a legal challenge to its library of digital books as a precedent. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling, rejecting the authors’ argument that Google’s digitization of millions of books and the public display of snippets from them constituted copyright infringement.

But Cathy Wolfe, an executive at Wolters Kluwer in the Netherlands, said judges interpret fair use arguments on a case-by-case basis and “it really depends a lot on the facts” based on the economic impact and other factors. Court Board Copyright Clearance Center, helping negotiate U.S. print and digital media licenses.

“Just because something is free on the Internet, on a website, doesn’t mean you can copy it and email it, let alone use it to conduct commercial business,” Wolf said. “Who’s going to win? I don’t know, but I’m certainly in favor of protecting everyone’s copyright. “That drives innovation. “

outside court

Some media outlets and other content creators are looking beyond the courts, calling on lawmakers or the Library of Congress Copyright Office to strengthen copyright protections in the AI ​​era. A panel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from media executives and advocates on Wednesday in a hearing devoted to the impact of artificial intelligence on journalism.

Roger Lynch, chief executive of the Condé Nast magazine chain, plans to tell senators that generative artificial intelligence companies “are using our stolen intellectual property to build alternative tools.”

“We believe the legislative solution may be simple: clarify that use of copyrighted content related to commercially generated artificial intelligence is not fair use and requires permission,” a copy of Lynch’s prepared statement reads.

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