In a legal development on Tuesday, OpenAI and Microsoft found themselves at the center of a lawsuit, accused of improperly utilizing the works of nonfiction authors to train artificial intelligence (AI) models, including OpenAI’s widely-used chatbot, ChatGPT.
The proposed class action, filed in Manhattan federal court, is spearheaded by Julian Sancton, an author and editor at the Hollywood Reporter. Sancton alleges that OpenAI copied tens of thousands of nonfiction books without proper authorization to educate its large language models, enabling them to generate responses to human text prompts.
This lawsuit is part of a broader trend, with several groups of copyright owners, including acclaimed authors such as John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, and Jonathan Franzen, initiating legal action against OpenAI and other tech companies. The authors claim that their literary works were utilized without consent in training AI systems, leading to concerns about intellectual property rights.
Notably, Julian Sancton’s complaint stands out as the first author-initiated lawsuit against OpenAI that also implicates Microsoft as a defendant. Microsoft, a major player in the tech industry, has invested substantial funds in OpenAI and seamlessly integrated the startup’s AI systems into its own products.
Both OpenAI and Microsoft have firmly denied the allegations brought forth in the lawsuit. The legal battle adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing discourse surrounding the ethical use of copyrighted material in the development of AI technologies. As the case unfolds, it will likely shed light on the evolving landscape of intellectual property rights in the age of artificial intelligence.