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Eight US Newspapers File Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against OpenAI and Microsoft

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 5, 2024
Eight US Newspapers File Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against OpenAI and Microsoft

Eight US Newspapers File Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against OpenAI and Microsoft

Eight US newspapers, including the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, and Denver Post, have initiated a lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, 30th April, in a New York federal court, accusing the tech giants of unlawfully using millions of copyrighted news articles to train their AI technologies.

Frank Pine, executive editor for MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing, expressed the newspapers’ concerns in a statement, highlighting the extensive financial investments in journalism that are allegedly being exploited to advance the commercial interests of these technology firms without appropriate compensation or permission.

The lawsuit involves major publications owned by Alden Global Capital, including the Denver Post, Orange County Register, St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Orlando Sentinel, and South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The plaintiffs have provided evidence indicating that the AI models from OpenAI and Microsoft, including ChatGPT and Copilot, have accessed and reproduced large segments of their articles.

Screenshots demonstrated Copilot generating full news articles shortly after their publication, typically without proper attribution back to the source, further complicating the issue with instances of inaccurate information being associated with the newspapers.

Core of the Copyright Dispute

This legal challenge is not framed as a dispute between emerging and established technologies or industries but as a fundamental copyright issue where the defendants are alleged to have built profitable enterprises using content they did not own or license.

The lawsuit draws attention to statements from OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, about the necessity of copyrighted material for training AI, and claims about the technological capability to circumvent paywalls and control content output, which the newspapers argue are not sufficiently utilized to prevent copyright infringement.

This case adds to a growing list of legal actions by media outlets against OpenAI and Microsoft, following similar claims by The New York Times and digital news sites such as The Intercept, AlterNet, and Raw Story. These preceding lawsuits have similarly accused the tech companies of using their journalistic content without permission for AI training purposes.

In defense, OpenAI has previously attempted to dismiss the lawsuit from The New York Times by arguing that the publication manipulated ChatGPT to reproduce its content as a demonstration, whereas Microsoft likened AI technologies to tools like VCRs, suggesting they have substantial lawful applications despite potential misuse.

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Featured Image courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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