PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Newspapers Sue Microsoft, OpenAI for Using Content to Train AI

Eight newspapers owned by Alden Global Capital’s MediaNews Group are reportedly suing Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging that the tech companies used the newspapers’ content to train artificial intelligence (AI) models. 

The newspapers, which include the New York Daily News and Chicago Tribune, filed their suit in New York federal court on Tuesday (April 30), Reuters reported Tuesday. 

They allege that the two tech companies copied millions of their articles to train Microsoft’s Copilot and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, adding that the AI systems reproduce the newspapers’ copyrighted content and that ChatGPT “hallucinates” articles and falsely attributes them to the newspapers, according to the report.

A lawyer for the MediaNews publications told Reuters that the defendants “think somehow they can get away with taking content” without payment or permission, per the report. 

Reached by PYMNTS, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Reached by PYMNTS, an OpenAI spokesperson provided an emailed statement saying that the company takes great care in our products and design process to support news organizations.

While we were not previously aware of Alden Global Capitals concerns, we are actively engaged in constructive partnerships and conversations with many news organizations around the world to explore opportunities, discuss any concerns and provide solutions,the statement said.

Frank Pine, executive editor of MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing, told the New York Daily News that the newspapers can’t allow OpenAI and Microsoft to “build their own businesses at our expense.”

“The misappropriation of news content by OpenAI and Microsoft undermines the business model for news,” Pine said, per the report. “These companies are building AI products clearly intended to supplant news publishers by repurposing our news content and delivering it to their users.”

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft in 2023, accusing the companies of copyright infringement and claiming they used its content without permission to develop ChatGPT.

OpenAI has struck deals with other publishers to use their content to train its chatbot.

For example, the company and Axel Springer announced a licensing deal in December that would provide summaries of Axel Springer content from Politico, Business Insider and Bild in reply to queries asked of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

In another deal, OpenAI and Associated Press (AP) reached an agreement in July in which OpenAI would license part of the newswire’s archive, while the AP would leverage the AI company’s technology and product expertise.