US newspapers sue OpenAI

US newspapers sue OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement

Eight US newspapers owned by Alden Global Capital, including The New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, and Denver Post, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft. The lawsuit accuses the tech giants of using millions of copyrighted news articles to train their AI chatbots, without obtaining consent or offering any compensation.

Frank Pine, executive editor for the MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing, stated ‘We’ve spent billions of dollars gathering information and reporting news at our publications, and we can’t allow OpenAI and Microsoft to expand the Big Tech playbook of stealing our work to build their own businesses at our expense.’

The lawsuit follows a similar action by the New York Times against the same companies in December, which also centred on using copyrighted content in AI model training. This new lawsuit, filed in the same district as the Times’ case, could be merged with it if overseen by the same judge.

Sources familiar with the matter note that unlike The New York Times, which sought negotiations before litigation, the Alden-owned newspapers moved directly to file the lawsuit. The source also noted that Alden might consider involving more of its 60 daily newspapers in the lawsuit in the future.

Key accusations in the lawsuit include the removal of copyright management information, such as journalists’ names and article titles, from the used content. The suit stated that this action not only breaches copyright laws but potentially dilutes the newspapers’ trademarks when their material is cited in AI-generated responses. The suit also raises concerns about reputational damage due to AI’s occasional inaccuracies, which could mislead users.

Why does it matter?

The outcome of this and similar lawsuits could set a precedent for how news content is used and compensated in the development of AI technologies, at least in the USA. In a lawsuit initiated by The New York Times, OpenAI responded to similar allegations by stating ‘‘regurgitation’ is a rare bug that we are working to drive to zero’. It is likely that OpenAI will present a similar defence in this case.

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