8 US newspapers sue ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement

The newspapers say the artificial intelligence company stole their work to build upon its enterprise at their expense.
Posted at 5:24 PM, May 01, 2024

A group of eight U.S. newspapers is suing ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that the technology companies have been "purloining millions" of copyrighted news articles without permission or payment to train their artificial intelligence chatbots.

The New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post and other papers filed the lawsuit Tuesday in a New York federal court.

"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," said a written statement from Frank Pine, executive editor for the MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing.

The other newspapers that are part of the lawsuit are MediaNews Group's Mercury News, Orange County Register and St. Paul Pioneer-Press, and Tribune Publishing's Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel. All of the newspapers are owned by Alden Global Capital.

Microsoft declined to comment Tuesday. OpenAI said in a statement that it takes care to support news organizations.

"While we were not previously aware of Alden Global Capital's concerns, we are actively engaged in constructive partnerships and conversations with many news organizations around the world to explore opportunities, discuss any concerns, and provide solutions," it said.

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The lawsuit is the latest against OpenAI and Microsoft to land at Manhattan's federal court, where the companies are already battling a series of other copyright lawsuits from the New York Times, other media outlets and bestselling authors such as John Grisham, Jodi Picoult and George R.R. Martin. The companies also face another set of lawsuits in San Francisco's federal court.

Tech companies have argued that taking troves of publicly accessible internet content to train their AI systems is protected by the "fair use" doctrine of American copyright law. In some cases, they have averted potential legal challenges by paying organizations for that content.

OpenAI has made licensing deals with media companies including The Associated Press, news publishing giants Axel Springer in Germany and Prisa Media in Spain, France's Le Monde newspaper and, most recently, the London-based Financial Times.