US novelists sue OpenAI: artificial intelligence violates copyright

The Authors Guild includes, among others, John Grisham, George RR Martin and Jodi Picoult

An association of US fiction writers, including well-known authors such as John Grisham, George RR Martin and Jodi Picoult, has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI accusing the company of copyright infringement. The accusation is due to the use of their novels to train the large language models used by ChatGPT. The lawsuit was filed by the Authors Guild on Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan, New York. The complaint states that OpenAI copied the authors’ works entirely without obtaining the necessary authorization and without considering copyright. These works were then used in the algorithms of large generative AI models, designed to generate natural language responses to user requests. The document presented by the Authors Guild states that “these algorithms are at the heart of OpenAI’s enormous commercial enterprise” and that they are based on systematic copyright infringement on a large scale. One of the main concerns related to the use of generative AI chatbots is the lack of clarity regarding the origin of the code or open language used to train such platforms.

Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, said that “authors must have the right to control how and whether their works are used by automatic text generation using artificial intelligence.” She stressed that it is “essential to stop this copyright infringement or we risk compromising our rich literary culture.” At the moment, OpenAI has not yet officially responded regarding the lawsuit filed in New York. Additionally, it has been reported that there is a similar lawsuit pending against Meta Platforms by a group of authors, who accuse the company of using copyrighted material to train its own large AI-based language model, called Llama. Microsoft announced earlier this month that it plans to protect its customers using its generative AI-based Copilot program from copyright infringement lawsuits to ease concerns about the risk of intellectual property claims .