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Pulitzer Winners Join Copyright Lawsuit Against OpenAI, Microsoft

 |  December 20, 2023

A group of 11 distinguished nonfiction authors, including Pulitzer Prize winners Taylor Branch, Stacy Schiff, and Kai Bird, has united in a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing the tech giants of violating copyright laws by improperly using their written works to train artificial intelligence (AI) models, including OpenAI’s renowned ChatGPT.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, claims that OpenAI and Microsoft unlawfully employed the authors’ books to train GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) language models, such as the widely-used ChatGPT and other AI-based software.

Julian Sancton, a writer and editor at Hollywood Reporter, initiated the proposed class-action lawsuit last month, and it is one of several cases brought by various copyright owners, including authors John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, and Jonathan Franzen, against OpenAI and other technology companies for alleged misuse of their intellectual property in AI training.

Notably, this lawsuit marks the first time that Microsoft has been named as a defendant alongside OpenAI in an author’s legal action. Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, has invested billions in the AI startup and incorporated its systems into its suite of products. Both OpenAI and Microsoft have refuted the allegations.

Read more: FTC Investigating OpenAI Over Data Security

According to the amended complaint filed on Monday, the authors assert that OpenAI “scraped” their works, along with a substantial amount of other copyrighted material from the internet, without obtaining proper authorization.

According to Reuters, his material was allegedly used to instruct GPT models on how to generate responses to human text prompts. The lawsuit contends that Microsoft played a significant role in the training and development of these models and is, therefore, equally accountable for copyright infringement.

In their legal filing, the authors are seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction to prohibit the companies from further infringing on their copyrights. The lawsuit adds to the growing legal scrutiny faced by tech companies over the use of copyrighted material in training AI models, raising questions about the ethical and legal boundaries in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence.

Source: Reuters