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Artificial Intelligence: "New York Times" files lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft

The US newspaper New York Times has sued the software company OpenAI and Microsoft for violating their copyrights. The companies used the data from several million New York Times articles to feed their chatbot ChatGPT and build a business, the indictment says. The paper is the first major American newspaper to sue OpenAI.

A related New York Times article goes on to say that the indictment “does not contain a specific monetary demand.” However, the defendants would have to be “held responsible” for the factual and legal damages estimated at several billion dollars. The companies are also being asked to stop using the content and to destroy the data that has already been collected.

Not the first lawsuit against OpenAI

In addition to violating its copyrights, the newspaper sees AI programs like ChatGPT as potential competitors in the news industry. If users asked chatbots about breaking news, they could generate answers based on past New York Times articles. There are concerns that ChatGPT could “poach readers” and thus data traffic and advertising revenue on the website could collapse.

With this lawsuit, the New York Times is clearly taking action against the use of its journalistic work by chatbots. However, it is not the first lawsuit of its kind: emerging AI companies are currently facing a wave of lawsuits for using Internet content to build their generative AI systems without consent. Among others, several authors such as Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham and George RR Martin have already sued OpenAI.

However, other large media groups such as the German Axel Springer publishing house have so far held back from bringing similar lawsuits or are negotiating agreements with the AI companies. It cannot be ruled out that a successful lawsuit by the New York Times could lead to further lawsuits from the media industry.

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