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NY Times sues OpenAI and Microsoft in landmark case

The New York Times has filed a landmark lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft that could have a major impact on the future development and deployment of AI tools.

According to the lawsuit, OpenAI and Microsoft inappropriately used the NYT’s online articles in the training of the AI-powered generative language model ChatGPT. The news outlet has documented examples where the program returns factual content and phrasing directly from its copyrighted articles. The lawsuit also claims that ChatGPT is diverting traffic, depriving the news outlet of advertising, licensing, and subscription revenue.

The newspaper’s lawsuit argues that OpenAI and Microsoft have gone beyond fair use and are undermining the paper’s investment in original journalism.

OpenAI has countered with the argument that training AI models on publicly available information, such as news articles, falls under fair use.

In a recent article, Chris Hanslik, chairman of business law firm BoyarMiller, writes that the outcome of the case could have far-reaching implications on a number of levels.

“A victory for The Times could establish a precedent requiring compensation for journalists and writers for copyrighted content used in AI training, impacting development of other large language models,” Hanslik says. “Conversely, a win for OpenAI could reinforce the current practice of using massive datasets without explicit permission from publishers, further muddying intellectual property rights in these digital times.”

The impact of the case could reach beyond the realm of journalism. Businesses that invest heavily in collecting and using data may face stricter regulations on how it can be used for AI development. If compensating data sources becomes the norm, the cost of developing and deploying AI solutions could rise significantly.

“The future of AI development hinges on this case,” Hanslik says. “A restrictive ruling could dampen innovation and limit the capabilities of AI tools available to businesses. Yet a clear fair use framework could boost responsible AI development.”

Source: Lexology

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