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The New York Times has filed a long-anticipated lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, in which it accuses both companies of unlawfully using its articles to train their AI systems. The Times has claimed that the companies’ AI technology (services like ChatGPT and Bing) copied millions of its stories and now competes with its journalism.

This lawsuit is part of a much wider legal battle that was a long time coming, and it pertains to the use of online content to train LLMs and AI systems. While many people with creative jobs have been concerned with the unlawful use of their content, this lawsuit is the first to target OpenAI and Microsoft, which are two of the most prominent names in the AI industry.

The lawsuit states that “this action seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages.” It claims that “millions” of New York Times articles were used without permission and that the tool now competes with the newspaper as a trustworthy information source.

It was also revealed that ChatGPT is able to leak New York Times content that is usually behind a paywall, meaning that the newspaper is losing subscription revenue and advertising clicks from people visiting the website.

In response, an OpenAI spokesperson said in a statement that the company respects the rights of content creators and is committed to working with them to help them benefit from the technology and new revenue models.

Another example of similar actions is a group of famous fiction writers who have also filed a class action suit against OpenAI in September, alleging that the technology illegally uses their copyrighted work. They claim that OpenAI’s AI tools can generate texts that are “substantially similar” to their original works and that this infringes on their rights and harms their reputation.