OpenAI, Microsoft sued by Center for Investigative Reporting as news industry steps up attack on AI

The news industry just gained a powerful ally in its quest to take on OpenAI.

The Center for Investigative Reporting, the nation’s oldest nonprofit newsroom, sued OpenAI and its major backer Microsoft in federal court Thursday for alleged copyright infringement, following similar lawsuits from publications including New York TimesChicago Tribune and New York Daily News.

CIR alleged in the lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, that OpenAI “copied, used, abridged, and displayed CIR’s valuable content without CIR’s permission or authorization, and without any compensation to CIR.”

Since its public release in late 2022, OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT has been crawling the web to provide answers to users’ questions, often relying heavily on copy pulled directly from the news.

“When they filled their training groups with journalistic works, the defendants had a choice: to honor the journalistic works, or not,” the plaintiffs wrote in the suit. “The defendants chose the latter.”

In a press release Thursday, Monika Bauerlein, the nonprofit’s CEO, accused the defendants of “free rider behavior.”

“OpenAI and Microsoft started cleaning up our stories to make their product more powerful, but they never asked for permission or offered compensation, unlike other organizations that license our material,” Bauerlein said.

CIR, which is home to Mother Jones and Reveal audio programs, also alleged in the lawsuit that OpenAI “trained ChatGPT not to acknowledge or respect copyright. And they did all of this without permission.”

The group said it is seeking “defendants’ actual damages and profits, or statutory damages of not less than $750 per infringed work and $2,500 per DMCA violation,” referring to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

OpenAI and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

With the news industry broadly struggling to maintain enough advertising and subscription revenue to pay for its costly newsgathering operations, many publications are aggressively trying to protect their businesses as AI-generated content becomes more widespread.

In December, The New York Times filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging intellectual property violations related to its journalistic content appearing in ChatGPT training data. The Times said it is seeking to hold Microsoft and OpenAI liable for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” related to the “unlawful copying and use of uniquely valuable Times works,” according to a filing in US District Court for the Southern District of Columbia. . District of New York. OpenAI disagreed with the Times’ characterization of events.

The Chicago Tribune, along with seven other newspapers, followed with a similar suit in April.

Outside the news, a group of prominent American authors, including Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, George RR Martin and Jodi Picoult, sued OpenAI last year, alleging copyright infringement in the use of their work to train ChatGPT.

But not all news organizations are preparing for a fight, and some are joining forces with OpenAI. Earlier Thursday, OpenAIÂ and Time magazine announced a “multi-year content agreement” that will allow OpenAI to access current and archived articles from more than 100 years of Time’s history.

OpenAI will be able to display Time content within its ChatGPT chatbot in response to user questions, according to a press release, and use Time content “to improve its products,” or, potentially , to train its artificial intelligence models.

OpenAI announced a similar partnership in May with News Corp., allowing OpenAI to access current and archived articles from The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Barron’s, New York Post and other publications. Reddit also announced in May that it will partner with OpenAI, allowing the company to train its AI models on Reddit content.

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