“The mind needs books, just as a sword needs a stone to sharpen it, if, of course, it wants to stay sharp,” said Tyrion Lannister in “Game of Thrones.” But in this case, AI is learning by analyzing a massive amount of data it gathers online. In the lawsuit, the authors accuse OpenAI of using their work without permission to improve ChatGPT. Joining the complaint are Jonathan Franzen, Jodi Picoult, and George Saunders.
The case has been brought to federal court in Manhattan, New York and is supported by the Authors Guild. According to BBC News, OpenAI has been accused of participating in “systematic mass-scale theft.” It is alleged that the company obtained copyrighted book data without the authors’ consent, with very detailed summaries, provided by the AI, being used as evidence. Attention has also been drawn to the broader perspective – technology is starting to replace human-created content.
As OpenAI spokesperson announces, the company is engaging in “productive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, to understand and address their concerns about artificial intelligence. We are optimistic that we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to collaborate.”
This is not the only action taken against AI using works without permission. Comedian Sarah Silverman also took legal action in July. Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman wrote an open letter, calling on AI companies to compensate them for using their work.
There is also a case involving artificial intelligence that creates media based on textual prompts. Digital artists sued text-to-image processing generators, Stability AI and Midjournej, claiming that they operate solely by training on copyrighted artworks.
OpenAI, along with Microsoft and coding platform GitHub, will also have to prove in court whether they used a group of experts’ code without permission to train an AI called Copilot.
Does the lawsuit stand a chance of winning? According to lawyer Patrick Goold from City University, one can sympathize with the authors, but it is unlikely that the lawsuit will succeed. Firstly, they will have to prove that ChatGPT copied and replicated their work. Secondly, the concern about AI taking away their jobs surpasses the scope of copyright law. It is not where the solution lies. Support from AI companies towards art would be more beneficial.
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