The New York Times sues Microsoft and OpenAI for copyright infringement

The New York Times has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI over what it calls “the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.”

The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, N.Y., and alleges copyright infringement against the two companies. Specifically, the suit claims Microsoft and OpenAI unlawfully used “millions of The Time’s copyrighted news articles” in training their large language AI models (LLM), Copilot and ChatGPT respectively.

Many news outlets have moved to block OpenAI’s web crawler, though The New York Times is the first to take legal action against AI developers in this respect. The wording of the official complaint reads in part:

The law does not permit the kind of systematic and competitive infringement that
Defendants have committed. This action seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages that they owe for the unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works.

The court documentation also mentions that The Times has been in negotiations with the defendants for months after discovering that its content was being used to develop LLM models. As the document also notes, the defendants publicly assert that their actions are protected under the Fair Use Doctrine.

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