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Newspaper Publishers Sue Microsoft and OpenAI

In a significant legal move, eight U.S. newspaper publishers have taken Microsoft and OpenAI to court in New York
May 1, 2024

In a New York federal court, eight U.S. newspaper publishers filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI. They allege that the technology companies are unlawfully reusing their articles in generative artificial intelligence products and attributing inaccurate information to them.

The lawsuit focuses on ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot assistant, which are integrated into various Microsoft products, including the Windows operating system and the Bing search engine. According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, these AI technologies have been reproducing millions of copyrighted articles without permission or compensation.

The group of publishers includes prominent names such as the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Orlando Sentinel, among others.

OpenAI, using text from these newspapers, has trained its large language models, including GPT-2, GPT-3, and the latest GPT-4. The lawsuit alleges that these models can output near-verbatim copies of significant portions of the publishers’ works.

Furthermore, Microsoft is accused of copying information from these newspapers for its Bing search index, which informs answers in the Copilot. However, the generated output often does not provide links to the original newspaper websites, where ads are displayed alongside articles or where users can subscribe.

While Microsoft and OpenAI have not yet responded to requests for comment, this legal action comes four months after The New York Times sued OpenAI over similar copyright infringement issues related to the ChatGPT chatbot. OpenAI has defended itself, stating that it wants to support a healthy news ecosystem.

In recent months, OpenAI has entered into agreements with several media companies, including Axel Springer and the Financial Times, allowing it to use their content to enhance AI models.

The lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI adds to the growing concern over AI models reproducing copyrighted content without proper attribution. Both companies are yet to respond formally to the allegations.

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