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Authors sue Microsoft and OpenAI alleging copyright infringement over AI training models

sam altman and satya nadella

Two non-fiction authors have filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI for using their work to train Artificial Intelligence (AI) models. This comes just a week after The New York Times announced that it had filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI for using its articles to train Large Language Models (LLMs) without explicit permission.

Authors Nicholas Basbanes and Nicholas Gage (via Reuters) have filed a class action lawsuit with the Manhattan federal court alleging Microsoft infringed their copyright by using information from their books to train OpenAI's LLM for ChatGPT and other services. The lawsuit also references the one filed by The New York Times and also notes that Nicholas Gage had worked for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Mr. Gage is among America’s greatest and most acclaimed investigative
reporters. He has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of
Journalism and his work for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times impacted the
course of key events in American and world history.

The lawsuit asks that authors should be compensated for the use of their work by the tech companies who are leveraging the information to train their AI models.

Notably, shortly after The New York Times filed suit against these same
defendants in this Court, the Defendants publicly acknowledged that copyright owners like
Plaintiffs must be compensated for Defendants’ use of their work

Furthermore, Basbanes and Gage's lawyer said that tech companies have "access to billions in
capital, simply stole Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works to build another billion+ dollar commercial
industry. It is outrageous."

Both the authors are seeking damages from Microsoft and OpenAI as well as asking the companies to stop using copyright information to train AI models.

Mr. Basbanes and Mr. Gage seek to represent a class of writers whose copyrighted work has been systematically pilfered by Defendants. Mr. Basbanes and Mr. Gage seek damages for copyright infringement, the lost opportunity to license their works, and for the destruction of the market Defendants have caused and continue to cause to writers. They also seek a permanent injunction to prevent these harms from recurring.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time Microsoft has been under a microscope for its investment and interests in OpenAI. Earlier this year, Microsoft was sued for the breach of privacy for using personal data to train AI models. This was followed by a lawsuit from authors Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad claiming ChatGPT accessed their work illegally. Not only that, but last month FTC and CMA announced that they are looking into Microsoft and OpenAI's partnership in relation to the anti-trust laws.

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