American writers George RR Martin and John Grisgam are suing OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT. They accuse her of violating their copyrights while training the system and accuse her of committing “systematic theft on a massive scale.”
A case was filed in federal court in Manhattan, New York, by the Authors Guild, a trade group in… USA acting on behalf of writers. In addition to George RR Martin, author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series on which the “Game of Thrones” series is based, and John Grisham, author of many popular legal thrillers and crime novels, Jonathan Franzen, Jodi Picoult and George Saunders also signed the application.
Where did the lawsuit come from? ChatGPT, as well as other similar language models, learn by analyzing data obtained on the Internet. The writers accuse OpenAI of using their books for this purpose without first asking for their consent. The files show that the American company was accused of participating in “systematic theft on a massive scale.”
This is not the first case of this type. In July, a similar lawsuit was filed by comedian Sarah Silverman and writers Richard Kadrey and Christopher Golden. Then, not only OpenAI was sued, but also Meta, the owner of Facebook, for using their work to create Meta Platforms.
According to the BBC, OpenAI said it respects the rights of authors and believes that “they should benefit from artificial intelligence technology.”
– We are having constructive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, and working together to understand and discuss their concerns about AI. (…) We are optimistic and will continue to find beneficial ways of cooperation.”
Allegations that data from copyrighted books were used to “train” ChatGPT arose in part because the tool was able to provide accurate summaries of these works.
A lawsuit without much chance
Patrick Goold, a lecturer at City University, told BBC News that while he sympathized with the authors of the lawsuit, he believed it was unlikely they would succeed. He stated that, at the very beginning, they would have to prove that ChatGPT copied and duplicated their work.
“They’re not really worried about copyright, they’re only worried about AI killing jobs,” he said, comparing writers’ concerns to those of screenwriters currently protesting in Hollywood.
This thesis is also confirmed in the lawsuit, which points to broader concerns of the media industry related to the possibility of “displacing” human-made content.
Main photo source: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock