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Authors sue ChatGPT maker for copyright infringement

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2023 | Business & Commercial Litigation

Massachusetts residents who follow developments in the technology and entertainment sectors will likely be aware that artificial intelligence platforms like ChatGPT have become a disruptive influence. ChatGPT, which was launched by OpenAI in November 2022, is a language-based chatbot that can generate computer code, social media posts, emails and even entire books in a matter of seconds, and it has become extremely popular. OpenAI designed ChaptGPT to create content based on information it finds on the internet, but much of this information is protected by copyright.

Copyright infringement

OpenAI has been sued several times over ChatGPT’s alleged copyright infringement. Authors including David Henry Hwang and Michael Chabon filed such a lawsuit in San Francisco in August, and George R.R. Martin was one of 17 authors to accuse the artificial intelligence company of intellectual property theft in a lawsuit filed in a New York Federal Court on Sept. 19.

Systematic theft

The latest lawsuit brought against OpenAI accuses the company of widespread “systematic theft,” and it cites an AI generated prequel to Martin’s popular “A Song of Ice and Fire” series as an example of ChatGPT’s copyright infringement. The AI chatbot generated a novel titled “A Dawn of Direwolves” that allegedly features characters and story elements from Martin’s existing and copyright-protected works. The business litigation was organized by the Authors Guild, which is a professional organization that advocates on behalf of writers.

AI needs to become more “intelligent”

Copyright protects original works when they are published in print or on the internet, and violating a copyright is considered intellectual property theft even if it is done inadvertently. ChatGPT can generate content in seconds based on information it finds online, but it does not seem to know that much of this information is protected and can only be used with the author’s consent. This suggests that OpenAI will face more lawsuits unless ChatGPT becomes more intelligent.