In a significant legal move, The New York Times has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan’s Federal District Court against OpenAI and Microsoft. The newspaper alleges that these tech giants have utilized its vast archive of articles to train their AI technologies. This legal battle marks the first instance of a major American media company taking legal action against the creators of AI platforms like ChatGPT, potentially reshaping the landscape of AI technology and intellectual property.
Billions at Stake in Lawsuit
The New York Times has not specified the exact damages it seeks but is pursuing damages in the billions, citing “unlawful copying and use” of its content. Additionally, the lawsuit calls for the dismantling of AI models and training data that incorporate The Times’s copyrighted material. As of now, OpenAI and Microsoft have not issued public responses to these allegations.
This legal dispute raises fundamental questions about the use of copyrighted content in AI training and highlights the growing tension between traditional media outlets and AI-driven platforms. The Times, a pioneer in digital journalism, views AI chatbots as direct competitors that could potentially divert traffic and revenue away from its digital properties. Furthermore, this case could have broader implications for the rapidly growing generative AI sector, which heavily relies on diverse online texts for its development.
The New York Times’s Stance on AI Usage
In its complaint, The Times points out instances where AI chatbots generated responses based on its journalism, content typically accessible only through a subscription. The newspaper argues that this could lead to a decrease in website visits and, consequently, a decline in advertising and subscription revenues. The lawsuit also raises concerns about potential damage to The Times’s brand reputation due to AI-generated inaccuracies or “hallucinations.”
The Times revealed that prior attempts to negotiate with Microsoft and OpenAI for an amicable solution, including commercial agreements and AI product restrictions, were unsuccessful, leading to the current legal action. This lawsuit represents a critical juncture for both the news industry and AI technology companies, with the potential to redefine the rules of engagement in the digital age.