HomeEthics & SocietyRaw Story, AlterNet, and The Intercept sue OpenAI and Microsoft

Raw Story, AlterNet, and The Intercept sue OpenAI and Microsoft

What, one other one?!

OpenAI and Microsoft have been struck by one more lawsuit, this time involving digital media outlets Raw Story, AlterNet, and The Intercept over allegations of copyright infringement. 

These outlets have taken legal motion against the tech duo for using copyrighted content without proper credit in training their AI technologies, demanding monetary compensation and removing the content from the AI’s training datasets.

It’s a well-recognized story and the second lawsuit OpenAI has faced inside the last 24 hours, as Elon Musk is attempting to sue the corporate’s founders, Greg Brockman and Sam Altman, for breaking the corporate’s founding agreement. 

This latest copyright lawsuit alleges that ChatGPT was trained on copyrighted journalism without the crucial credit or citation, with demands for not less than $2,500 per infringement.

The submission explains, “Generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems and huge language models (LLMs) are trained using works created by humans. AI systems and LLMs ingest massive amounts of human creativity and use it to mimic how humans write and speak. These training sets have included a whole lot of hundreds, if not thousands and thousands, of works of journalism.”

It also calls upon a recent study from Copyleaks, stating, “According to the award-winning website Copyleaks, nearly 60% of the responses provided by Defendants’ GPT-3.5 product in a study conducted by Copyleaks contained some type of plagiarized content, and over 45% contained text that was an identical to pre-existing content.”

In a daring statement, John Byrne, CEO and founding father of Raw Story and owner of AlterNet, articulated the mounting frustration with Big Tech’s practices, saying, “It is time that news organizations fight back against Big Tech’s continued attempts to monetize other people’s work. Big Tech has decimated journalism. It’s time that publishers take a stand.” 

Like other lawsuits, the chief concern here is that AI firms like OpenAI trained their models on vast quantities of information they consider is ‘open source,’ ‘in the general public domain,’ or ‘fair use.’ 

The issue is, these concepts are highly ambiguous. Copyright law itself was not shaped with AI model training in mind. 

OpenAI recently replied to the New York Times lawsuit, which might be the best profile of the lot, alleging the NYT paid someone to ‘hack’ their products.

OpenAI argued that the NYT used complex prompts to forcibly produce instances of copyright infringement. 

However, the NYT hit back, saying that because AI firms don’t disclose their training data, people don’t have any alternative but to reverse engineer the products to show them.

As tension on generative AI firms increases, the industry is approaching a crossroads.


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