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Nonfiction Authors Sue OpenAI, Microsoft for Copyright Infringement

A group of nonfiction authors has filed a lawsuit against U.S.-based tech giant Microsoft and artificial intelligence (AI) company OpenAI, alleging that the two companies trained its AI ChatGPT tool to copy their work without their consent. 

In a complaint filed in the Manhattan federal court Tuesday, author Julian Sancton, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, alleged that he and thousands of other nonfiction authors did not receive any compensation for their work being copied by AI. 

The complaint noted that Microsoft and OpenAI enjoyed financial success commercializing their work, making billions of dollars through revenue on its AI products. 

“Nonfiction authors often spend years conceiving, researching, and writing their creations. While OpenAI and Microsoft refuse to pay nonfiction authors, their AI platform is worth a fortune,” the lawsuit reads. “The basis of the OpenAI platform is nothing less than the rampant theft of copyrighted works.” 

The complaint also alleges that both companies collaborated closely on creating and using their AI-powered products, such as the popular ChatGPT chatbot, to recognize and process text inputs from users and “generate text that has been calibrated to mimic a human written response.” 

“Defendants have made commercial reproductions of millions, maybe billions, of copyrighted works without any compensation to authors, without a license, and without permission,” the lawsuit reads. “In doing so, they have infringed on the exclusive rights of Plaintiff Sancton and other writers and rightsholders whose work has been copied and appropriated to train their artificial intelligence models.”

The lawsuits comes amid a recent shake-up between the two tech companies, as Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, returned to his post with the company just days after being ousted due to an internal investigation by the company’s board. 

In response to Altman’s ouster from the company, more than 600 OpenAI employees signed an open letter threatening to join Altman at Microsoft if their company’s current board of directors didn’t step down from their positions. 

OpenAI is known for launching the popular ChatGPT last November, an AI-powered chatbot that automatically generates humanlike responses to users’ queries in a way that is more advanced than previous technology. 

The popularity of OpenAI’s chatbot resulted in other major tech companies, including Microsoft, introducing or announcing their own AI-implemented services this year.

Sancton, on behalf of the group of nonfiction authors, is seeking damages from the two companies “for their largescale infringement of their copyrighted works, as well as injunctive relief.”

Source : The Hill