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Why did the New York Times sue OpenAI?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW - Intellectual Property

OpenAI is the company that makes ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence model that can be used for many different applications. People sometimes use it to make outlines, do research, generate images or create text-based content.

Recently, the New York Times has decided to sue OpenAI. They claim that artificial intelligence is essentially plagiarizing from other online works, such as those published by the Times. This is a major lawsuit that will likely define how AI can be used moving forward, so the outcome will be crucial to the development of this technology.

Does the AI plagiarize?

According to OpenAI itself, there are some issues with the AI model that they are using right now. They train it on existing data – such as the text from the Times, along with millions of other sources.

But when ChatGPT creates its own content, it essentially just combines existing content into a new format. If it did this in a completely unique way every time, this lawsuit may not have as much basis. But there are times when ChatGPT will create text that is an exact copy of what is found elsewhere. 

The claim being made in the lawsuit from the Times is that this essentially amounts to OpenAI using the Times’ text and then selling it back to people who are using the AI program – which costs $20 per month. 

The law always tends to run a bit behind technological advancements. As such, these types of lawsuits go a long way toward defining how information can be used. It will be very interesting to see what this means for intellectual property laws moving forward.