New York Times vs OpenAI: Is there a case for copyright

News Excerpt: 

The New York Times (NYT) sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. The core of the NYT's lawsuit is the assertion that OpenAI and Microsoft's use of its copyrighted material to train AI models constitutes direct copyright infringement.

Key positions of The NYT, OpenAI, and Microsoft in the high-profile copyright infringement case:

NYT’S Stance:

  • NYT alleges that OpenAI and Microsoft's generative AI tools, powered by large language models (LLMs)
    • It was built by copying and using millions of copyrighted NYT articles, investigations, opinion pieces, reviews, and guides.
  • NYT argues that the defendants gave particular emphasis to NYT content when building their LLMs, recognizing the value of those works.
  • NYT argues that this unauthorized use deprives them of the benefits of their investment and violates their exclusive rights as creators.
  • The newspaper claims that the defendants' AI tools can generate output that recites NYT content verbatim, closely summarizes it, and mimics its expressive style.
  • NYT asserts that the defendants are using its intellectual property without payment and enriching themselves, citing Microsoft's trillion-dollar valuation and OpenAI's ChatGPT's $90 billion valuation.
  • NYT argues that the defendants' use of NYT content to create competing products is not transformative and does not constitute fair use.

OpenAI's Response:

  • OpenAI claims that the NYT paid someone to hack their products to generate the "highly anomalous results" presented in the complaint.
  • OpenAI alleges that the NYT targeted and exploited a bug by using deceptive prompts that violated OpenAI's terms of use.
  • OpenAI states that the NYT had to feed portions of the very articles they sought to elicit verbatim passages from, which already appear on multiple public websites.

Microsoft's Defence:

  • Microsoft draws parallels to the case of the Motion Picture Association of America and Hollywood's lawsuit against the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR).
  • Microsoft argues that the US Supreme Court's decision in Sony Corp of America vs Universal City Studios, Inc. allowed technological innovation and consumer choice, benefiting the entertainment industry in the long run.
  • Microsoft suggests that the NYT's lawsuit is alarmist: 
    • It states AI could open new markets and revenue streams for news conglomerates, similar to how the VCR benefited Hollywood.


  • The lawsuit between NYT, OpenAI, and Microsoft signifies broader challenges as AI transforms the news and creative industries. 
  • While some entities choose to collaborate with AI technology, others opt for legal action to protect their intellectual property. 
  • The outcome of this case could shape future legal and ethical considerations surrounding AI's role in content creation and distribution.

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