The New York Times sues OpenAI, Microsoft over copyright abuse

Occurred: December 2023

The New York Times filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI and Microsoft of copyright infringement, alleging that the companies’ artificial intelligence technology illegally copied millions of Times articles to train ChatGPT and other services.

The NYT's legal complaint said Microsoft and OpenAI’s 'unlawful use of The Times’s work to create artificial intelligence products that compete with it threatens The Times’s ability to provide that service.' It also argued that 'they gave Times content particular emphasis' while seeking 'to free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism by using it to build substitutive products without permission or payment.'

'There is nothing ‘transformative’ about using The Times’s content without payment to create products that substitute for The Times and steal audiences away from it,' the NYT said in its complaint. 'Because the outputs of Defendants’ GenAI models compete with and closely mimic the inputs used to train them, copying Times works for that purpose is not fair use.'

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of suits seeking to limit the scraping of content from across the internet without acknowledgement, permission, or compensation in order to train generative AI systems, and was seen as an escalation of an ongoing fight between authors, news publishers, artists, designers, and musicians, and AI system developers. 

Operator: The New York Times Company
Developer: OpenAI
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Generate text
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Copyright
Transparency: Governance

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️