The copyright lawsuits against OpenAI are piling up. Credit: Getty Images

More copyright infringement lawsuits have been filed against OpenAI.

Recently, news organizations such as Intercept, Raw Story, and AlterNet took legal action against OpenAI for allegedly violating copyright laws in the Southern District of New York. The Intercept also implicated Microsoft in the lawsuit for its use of OpenAI’s GPT-4 model in the Copilot tool. The lawsuits claim that OpenAI (and Microsoft in The Intercept’s case) breached the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits online service providers from tampering with copyright information on digital content.

SEE ALSO: What was Sora trained on? Creatives demand answers.

ChatGPT relies on content scraped from the web, sourced from datasets like Common Crawl, OpenAI’s WebText, and WebText 2. A previous lawsuit in December by the New York Times against OpenAI and Microsoft alleged that ChatGPT used verbatim text from New York Times stories without proper attribution or compensation. Additionally, in August 2023, class-action lawsuits were filed against Google and OpenAI for using personal data to train the model.

The complaints assert that OpenAI removed crucial copyright information, such as authorship and titles, and avoided paying license fees for content created by journalists. The lawsuits from Raw Story and AlterNet also claim that OpenAI knowingly utilized copyrighted materials, as the company developed tools for publishers to prevent their works from being used as training data.

“When incorporating journalistic works into their training sets, Defendants had a choice: retain the copyright management information protected by the DMCA, or remove it,” the lawsuits stated. “Defendants opted for the latter, training ChatGPT to disregard copyright, neglect notifying users of protected content, and omit attribution to human journalists.”

This might not be the final copyright infringement case involving OpenAI or other developers of generative AI technologies. Concerns about the origin of training data surfaced following ChatGPT’s launch, alongside the emergence of new AI models like OpenAI’s Sora video generator.

Some news organizations are opting for a different approach by negotiating licensing agreements with OpenAI. The Associated Press and German media company Axel Springer have both entered into deals with the maker of ChatGPT.

Regardless of the outcome, the battle over AI copyrights is gaining momentum.

Topics Artificial Intelligence OpenAI

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Cecily Mauran

Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran.


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