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New York Times sues Microsoft and OpenAI for training AI on its articles

The New York Times is asking for billions in damages.
By
December 27, 2023
TL;DR
  • The New York Times is suing Microsoft and OpenAI for copyright infringement.
  • The New York Times alleges that ChatGPT and Copilot recite the outlet’s content verbatim, closely summarize it, and mimic its style.
  • The New York Times is asking for billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages.

Microsoft’s and OpenAI’s large language models (LLMs) have landed the two companies in some hot water. A new lawsuit — filed by The New York Times — alleges that the AI models that power Microsoft Copilot and ChatGPT are guilty of copyright infringement.

Filed today, a lawsuit from The New York Times claims that Microsoft and OpenAI used “millions” of its articles without permission to train their LLMs. The publication also asserts that Microsoft’s and OpenAI’s chatbots “directly compete with Times content.”

In addition, the lawsuit says ChatGPT and Copilot “can generate output that recites Times content verbatim, closely summarizes it, and mimics its expressive style.” It further adds that this practice has been “been extremely lucrative” for Microsoft and OpenAI, boosting Microsoft’s “market capitalization by a trillion dollars” and OpenAI’s valuation to “$90 billion.”

While all of this may have been lucrative for the tech companies, the Times argues these chatbots “threaten high-quality journalism” by hurting an outlet’s ability to monetize content. “Defendants seek to free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism,” the lawsuit states.

The publication claims that it has tried to negotiate a deal with the two parties “to ensure it received fair value for the use of its content,” but the negotiations fell apart. Now, the Times is reportedly seeking billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages for Microsoft and OpenAI allegedly copying its work.