March 27, 2024
Author's Guild takes legal action against OpenAI

Author’s Guild Files Lawsuit Against OpenAI Over Copyrighted Material in AI Training

On September 19, the Author’s Guild, a prominent writers’ professional organization in the United States, initiated a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, which is supported by Microsoft, alleging the improper utilization of copyrighted material during the training of its artificial intelligence (AI) models.

As per legal documents, the oldest and largest writers’ association in the U.S. is operating within the framework of the Copyright Act and is seeking legal remedies for what it deems blatant and detrimental infringement of copyrighted literary works, particularly in the realm of fiction.

The complaint asserts that these works were extensively copied without consent or any form of compensation, as they were utilized to train large language models (LLMs). The Author’s Guild contends that these algorithms are central to defendants’ substantial commercial operations, and at the core of these algorithms lies an organized, large-scale misappropriation.

The Author’s Guild represents a group of professional fiction writers whose creative output stems from their own imaginations and literary expression. Consequently, they argue that the LLMs put at risk the livelihoods of fiction writers by potentially diminishing their ability to earn a living.

The organization suggests that OpenAI could have chosen to train its AI models using materials from the public domain or could have pursued the option of obtaining licensing rights for the copyrighted works. However, they assert that OpenAI cannot circumvent the Copyright Act entirely to fuel its profitable enterprise by utilizing datasets from relatively recent books without proper authorization.

Earlier in September, the Author’s Guild published an article addressing how authors can safeguard their work from AI web crawlers. They have also been actively advocating their stance on AI technologies. This lawsuit by the Author’s Guild follows similar legal actions against Meta and OpenAI, both of which have faced allegations of employing copyrighted materials during AI training.

Sarah Silverman and other authors initiated the lawsuit back in July, but both companies have now requested that the claims be dismissed. In August, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a notice of inquiry concerning AI, soliciting public input on matters related to AI content creation and the regulatory considerations for AI-generated content resembling human creations. Prior to this inquiry, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that art generated solely by AI is not eligible for copyright protection.

Image by pixabay

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