New York Times Sues AI Companies For Alleged Copyright Violation

On Wednesday, the New York Times filed a lawsuit against two major artificial intelligence (AI) companies, OpenAI and Microsoft, over alleged copyright violations.

OpenAI is the company that created the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, while Microsoft created an AI called Bing Chat. Both of these programs are large language models trained on data from the internet, which the programs use to generate text based on prompts from users.

The New York Times has alleged in its complaint that OpenAI and Microsoft trained their chatbots using millions of the outlet’s copyrighted articles without permission. The outlet is the first large American publication to file a lawsuit against these tech giants, according to claims made in an article about the lawsuit published by the New York Times.

“Defendants seek to free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism by using it to build substitutive products without permission or payment,” the complaint states. “If The Times and other news organizations cannot produce and protect their independent journalism, there will be a vacuum that no computer or artificial intelligence can fill.”

“Less journalism will be produced, and the cost to society will be enormous,” the complaint continues.

The New York Times went on to note that they have spent billions of dollars to produce their content, but have not received any payment from OpenAI or Microsoft for the use of that content, nor have they given the AI companies permission to do so.

“Times journalism is the work of thousands of journalists, whose employment costs hundreds of millions of dollars per year,” the complaint states. “Defendants have effectively avoided spending the billions of dollars that The Times invested in creating that work by taking it without permission or compensation.”

“This action seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages that they owe for the unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works,” the complaint continues.

Meanwhile, OpenAI recently made a deal with German publishing giant Axel Springer that would allow ChatGPT to use “authoritative” and “quality” content from outlets owned by the German publisher, including Politico and Business Insider, according to a press release from Axel Springer. This deal will allow OpenAI’s chatbot to use news articles from these outlets as training information to respond to users, provide summaries and link articles for users to read.

In a statement to The Daily Caller, a spokesperson for OpenAI expressed disappointment with the New York Times’ lawsuit — claiming that the company had been in talks with the news outlet up until the suit was filed.

“We respect the rights of content creators and owners and are committed to working with them to ensure they benefit from AI technology and new revenue models,” the OpenAI spokesperson wrote in the statement. “Our ongoing conversations with the New York Times have been productive and moving forward constructively, so we are surprised and disappointed with this development. We’re hopeful that we will find a mutually beneficial way to work together, as we are doing with many other publishers.”