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And writers are suing ChatGPT developer

And writers are suing ChatGPT developer

Generative AI is just a new way to use someone else’s intelligence without permission or compensation, lawyers say (photo: CC0 Public Domain)

The company OpenAI is again given to court – this time for using literary works to teach her language model, which is the basis of the popular AI bot ChatGPT.

This week, two prominent writers filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the AI ​​developer. According to them, OpenAI is illegally using their works to train the neural network. This is one of the first cases to use text (rather than images or code) as training data, notes Tom’s Hardware.

In the lawsuit, filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California, plaintiffs Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad allege that OpenAI and its subsidiaries violated copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and California and common law limitations on unfair competition.

The writers are represented by the law firm of Joseph Savery and Matthew Butterick – the same team behind the recent lawsuits filed against Stable Diffusion AI and GitHub. The complaint alleges that Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World and two novels by Mona Awad — 13 Ways to Look at a Fat Girl and The Bunny — were used as training data for GPT-3.5 and GPT -4.

OpenAI does not disclose that these novels are in its training bases, which are kept secret. But the plaintiffs conclude that they must be there because ChatGPT was able to provide detailed plot summaries and answer questions about the books that would require access to their texts.

“Because the OpenAI Language Models cannot function without the expressive information derived from and stored in Plaintiffs’ (and others’) Works, the OpenAI Language Models themselves infringe derivative works created without Plaintiffs’ permission and in violation of their exclusive rights under the Act for copyright,” the complaint states.

All three books contain copyright information (CMI), such as ISBN numbers and copyright registration numbers. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) alleges that deleting or manipulating CMI is illegal, and because ChatGPT’s responses did not contain this information, the plaintiffs allege that OpenAI is guilty of violating that law, in addition to the fact of infringement of copyright.

Although there are currently only two plaintiffs in the case, the lawyers intend to classify the case, which would allow other authors whose works were used by OpenAI to also receive compensation. The lawyers are seeking monetary damages, payment of legal fees and an injunction forcing OpenAI to change its copyright software and business practices.

The LLM Litigation law firm’s website details the plaintiffs’ position and reasons for filing the suit: “We filed a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing ChatGPT and its underlying major language models, GPT-3.5 and GPT-4, of modifying the copyrighted works of thousands of writers – and many more – without consent, compensation or recognition”.

They also criticize the concept of generative AI, stating: “Generative AI is simply human intelligence repackaged and sold as a new product. This is not a new kind of intelligence. It’s just a new way of using someone else’s intelligence without permission or compensation”.

OpenAI says it doesn’t know which books were used to train the AI, but that doesn’t matter, the lawyers say, because: “OpenAI knows it used many books, and it knows it didn’t get permission from their authors.” .

This is the first OpenAI to face such accusations. However, the new lawsuit will be the first to involve the use of text data and could set a precedent for future AI copyright infringement lawsuits.


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