Authors sue OpenAI for copyright infringement

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A group of authors has filed a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging copyright infringement. The authors, including Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Franzen, best-selling author John Grisham, and fantasy novelist George R.R. Martin, accuse OpenAI of using their copyrighted works to train its large language models (LLMs) without permission or compensation.

The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of New York on September 21, 2023, and is being led by The Authors Guild, a professional organization that advocates for the rights of writers. The plaintiffs argue that OpenAI’s actions have violated their exclusive copyright under U.S. law.

In the complaint, the authors allege that OpenAI “copied plaintiffs’ works wholesale, without permission or consideration” and fed the copyrighted materials into its LLMs, such as GPT-3 and ChatGPT. The lawsuit claims that these LLMs can now generate text that is “substantially similar” to the authors’ books and other copyrighted works.

The authors also argue that OpenAI’s LLMs could result in derivative work “that is based on, mimics, summarizes, or paraphrases” their books, which could harm their market. For example, the lawsuit alleges that OpenAI’s LLMs could be used to generate fan fiction or other derivative works that could compete with the authors’ own works.

The authors are seeking a number of remedies in the lawsuit, including injunctive relief to prevent OpenAI from further using their copyrighted works, damages for the infringement, and a share of the profits OpenAI has made from its LLMs.

The sources for this piece include an article in TheVerge.

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