The New York Times yesterday filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI for alleged copyright infringement.
In a statement, the publication says the copyright infringement arises from Microsoft’s and OpenAI’s “unauthorised copying and use of millions of The Times’s articles to train GenAI [generative artificial intelligence] models and tools, and commercialise their products that both display Times journalism and wrongly attribute false information to the Times.
In the court documents seen by ITWeb, The New York Times says the defendants’ 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 adds that Microsoft’s and OpenAI’s GenAI tools rely on large-language models (LLMs) that were built by copying and using millions of The Times’s copyrighted news articles, in-depth investigations, opinion pieces, reviews, how-to guides, and more.
“While defendants engaged in wide-scale copying from many sources, they gave Times content particular emphasis when building their LLMs—revealing a preference that recognises the value of those works.
“Through Microsoft’s Bing Chat (recently rebranded as Copilot) and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, 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.”
According to Reuters, The Times is not seeking a specific amount of damages, but estimated damages in the “billions of dollars”.
It also wants OpenAI and Microsoft to destroy chatbot models and training sets that incorporate its material.
"We respect the rights of content creators and owners," OpenAI said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.
"Our ongoing conversations with the New York Times have been productive and moving forward constructively, so we are surprised and disappointed with this development."