A new group of authors in the US has taken OpenAI to court, claiming that the company’s AI models infringed on their copyrighted works.
In the lawsuit filed on September 8, authors Michael Chabon, David Henry Hwang, Rachel Louise Snyder, and Ayelet Waldman alleged that OpenAI trained ChatGPT using their works without permission, and now these systems can accurately summarize their works and generate text that mimics their styles. The authors claimed these outputs are “derivative” works that infringe on their copyrights.
The lawsuit sought an unspecified amount in monetary damages as well as an order blocking OpenAI from engaging in unlawful business practices.
This is the third such lawsuit filed by authors against OpenAI. In June, authors Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad sued OpenAI for copyright infringement, and in July, Sarah Silverman, Christopher Golden, and Richard Kadrey filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI and Meta on similar grounds.
OpenAI has filed a motion to dismiss the previous two lawsuits. The company submitted that the authors “misconceive the scope of copyright, failing to take into account the limitations and exceptions (including fair use) that properly leave room for innovations like the large language models now at the forefront of artificial intelligence.” You can read more about OpenAI’s arguments here.
Separately, a group of over 10,000 authors signed an open letter in July asking AI companies to “obtain consent from, credit, and fairly compensate authors.”
Why does this matter: Copyright is one of the biggest concerns with AI right now. Training generative AI models involve large sets of data, some of which are obtained by scraping publicly available information on the internet. But in many cases, this information might be copyrighted. The trained models might then output work that is imitative without providing appropriate compensation or attribution to the source. This has resulted in authors, artists, and coders filing copyright infringement lawsuits against AI companies.
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