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8 newspapers sue Microsoft and ChatGPT over copyright infringement

8 newspapers sue Microsoft and ChatGPT over copyright infringement

Artificial intelligence is getting some real fire. Eight major newspaper publishers have filed a suit against Microsoft and OpenAI, claiming the technology companies reuse their articles without permission in generative artificial intelligence products and incorrectly attribute inaccurate information to them.

The group of eight newspaper publishers takes issue with ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot assistant — available in the Windows operating system, the Bing search engine, and other products the software maker produces. ChatGPT and Copilot have been “purloining millions of the publishers’ copyrighted articles without permission and payment,” according to the complaint, which had been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

According to CNBC, the newspaper publishers in the lawsuit operate the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sun Sentinel in Florida, The Mercury News in California, The Denver Post, The Orange County Register in California and the Pioneer Press of Minnesota. All fall under the ownership of hedge fund Alden Global Capital.

“We take great care in our products and design process to support news organizations,” an OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement. “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.

Along with our news partners, we see immense potential for AI tools like ChatGPT to deepen publishers’ relationships with readers and enhance the news experience.”

The newspaper publishers said in the lawsuit that OpenAI has drawn on data sets containing text from their newspapers to train its GPT-2 and GPT-3 large language models, which can spit out text in response to a few words of human input.

“The current GPT-4 LLM will output near-verbatim copies of significant portions of the publishers’ works when prompted to do so,” the complaint said, showing several examples of ChatGPT and the Copilot allegedly doing so.

The publishers said Microsoft copies information from their newspapers for the Bing search index, which helps inform answers in the Copilot. But such output doesn’t always provide links to newspaper websites, where they can view ads alongside articles or pay for subscriptions.

The legal challenge comes four months after The New York Times sued OpenAI over copyright infringement in the ChatGPT chatbot that the startup released in late 2022. OpenAI said that the case is without merit, adding it wants to support “a healthy news ecosystem.

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