The lawsuit initiated by the New York Times against OpenAI, the proprietor of ChatGPT, is based on allegations that the training of the system violated the newspaper's copyright.
The lawsuit, which also names Microsoft as a defendant, seeks "billions of dollars" in damages from the companies in question.
ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) acquire knowledge through the analysis of an extensive volume of data, which is frequently obtained from online sources. Microsoft and OpenAI have been contacted by the sources for their comment.
The lawsuit alleges that ChatGPT was enhanced using "millions" of New York Times articles without the publication's consent. It further asserts that the tool is now vying for the newspaper's reputation as a reliable source of information.
The claim is that ChatGPT will occasionally produce "verbatim excerpts" from New York Times articles in response to inquiries about current events. These articles are inaccessible without a paid subscription.
As per the lawsuit, this implies that New York Times content is accessible to readers without requiring payment, resulting in the publication forfeiting subscription revenue and advertising views from website visitors.
Additionally, it provided the instance of the Bing search engine, which incorporates certain ChatGPT-powered functionalities, generating outcomes extracted from a website owned by the New York Times, lacking any hyperlink to the article or referral links that contribute to the engine's revenue generation.
OpenAI has received investments in excess of $10 billion (£7.8 billion) from Microsoft.
The lawsuit, which was filed in a Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, discloses that the New York Times attempted to negotiate "an amicable resolution" with Microsoft and OpenAI regarding its copyright in April without success.
It occurs one month after OpenAI experienced a period of turmoil during which CEO and co-founder Sam Altman was fired and subsequently rehired within days.
Insiders in the industry were stunned by his dismissal, which prompted employees to threaten mass resignations unless he was reinstated. However, in addition to the internal challenges, the organisation is presently confronted with numerous litigation that were initiated in 2023.
A comparable legal action for copyright infringement was lodged in September by a group of American authors, including "Game of Thrones" author George R. R. Martin and John Grisham.
This was in response to legal proceedings initiated by comedian Sarah Silverman in July and an open letter endorsed by authors Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman in the same month, which demanded compensation from AI companies for utilising their works.
In addition, OpenAI, Microsoft, and the programming platform GitHub are all defendants in a lawsuit filed by a group of computing specialists who claim their code was unlawfully utilised to train the artificial intelligence known as Copilot.
To these aforementioned activities, developers of so-called generative AI (artificial intelligence that can generate media in response to text prompts) have faced numerous legal challenges.
In January, artists initiated legal proceedings against text-to-image generators Stability AI and Midjourney, asserting that their functionality is contingent upon being trained on copyrighted artwork. As of now, all of these legal disputes remain unresolved.