Media Giants Accuse OpenAI, Microsoft Of News Piracy

Media Giants Accuse OpenAI, Microsoft Of News Piracy

Chicago, Tribune, and seven other newspapers have taken a strong stand and filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI. The accusation is serious: Tech giants allegedly illegally used copyrighted articles for their AI development.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York on Tuesday, several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News, claimed that Microsoft and OpenAI had improperly used reporters’ work to train their generative AI systems.

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The eight newspapers, which are part of MediaNews Group, a hedge fund owned by Alden Global Capital, claimed in the lawsuit that the businesses had illegally duplicated millions of their articles to train artificial intelligence (AI) products, such as Microsoft’s Copilot and OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft

The federal court lawsuit claims that the two tech companies are “purloining” the newspaper publishers’ reporting without paying for it “to create products that provide news and information plagiarized and stolen,” even though the publishers have spent billions of dollars sending “real people to real places to report on real events in the real world.”

“We can’t allow OpenAI and Microsoft to expand the Big Tech playbook of stealing our work to build their businesses at our expense,” said Frank Pine, executive editor of MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing, which owns seven newspapers. 

“OpenAI and Microsoft’s misappropriation of news content undermines the news business model. These companies build AI products intended to supplant news publishers by repurposing our news content and delivering it to their users.”

The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday morning in the Southern District of New York on behalf of the New York Daily News, Tribune Publishing’s Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, and the MediaNews Group, which owns the Denver Post, Mercury News, Orange County Register, and St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

The complaint comes after similar ongoing lawsuits filed by the New York Times, Raw Story, AlterNet, and The Intercept against Microsoft and OpenAI. 

OpenAI speaks

On Tuesday, a spokesman for OpenAI stated that the business uses “great care in our products and design process to support news organizations.” Microsoft declined to comment on the complaint through a spokesperson.

The copyright owners’ cases against tech companies over the data used to train their generative AI systems could be historic, and the newspaper cases are just one of many.

Steven Lieberman, an attorney for the MediaNews publications, told Reuters that OpenAI’s meteoric rise to fame was due to the contributions of others. According to him, the defendants “think somehow they can get away with taking content” without authorization or payment, even though they know they must pay for computers, chips, and employee salaries.

Axel Springer, the owner of Politico, and the Financial Times are among the news organizations that have agreements with OpenAI to have some of their news material appear in responses to queries on ChatGPT. Others, like the New York Times, have also filed lawsuits

However, Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, and other AI firms maintain that using news articles from the public domain to train the underlying algorithms of their AI tools is acceptable under the copyright law concept of fair use. 

This concept permits the repurposing of copyrighted work provided that it is materially altered.

RELATED TOPICS: ChatGPT, Copilot, Microsoft, OpenAI
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