John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, and George R.R. Martin are among 17 authors suing OpenAI for what they claim is “systematic theft on a mass scale,” marking the latest legal action by writers who worry that artificial intelligence programs are utilizing their copyrighted works without consent.
In legal documents filed on Tuesday in a federal court in New York, the authors alleged “flagrant and harmful infringements of plaintiffs’ registered copyrights’ registered copyrights” and labelled the ChatGPT program as a “significant commercial endeavor” that relies on “systematic theft on a mass scale.” The lawsuit was coordinated by the Authors Guild and includes David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand, among others.
“It is imperative that we stop this theft in its tracks or we will destroy our incredible literary culture, which feeds many other creative industries in the U.S.,” an official statement emphasized by Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild. “Great books are generally written by those who spend their careers and, indeed, their lives, learning and perfecting their crafts. To preserve our literature, authors must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI.”
Response of OpenAI and Commitment to Authors’ Rights
In a recent lawsuit, specific queries made using ChatGPT have been cited, implicating the AI in generating content allegedly infringing on the intellectual property of renowned author George R.R. Martin. The lawsuit contends that ChatGPT produced an unauthorized and detailed outline for a prequel to Martin’s famous series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” notably titled “A Dawn of Direwolves.” This outline reportedly incorporated the same characters from Martin’s existing books, including “A Game of Thrones.”
Responding to these allegations, an OpenAI spokesperson conveyed the organization’s commitment to upholding the rights of writers and authors. They emphasized OpenAI’s belief in ensuring that authors benefit from AI technology and expressed their willingness to engage in productive dialogues with creators globally, including the Authors Guild. The spokesperson underlined OpenAI’s cooperative approach, aiming to thoroughly comprehend and address AI-related concerns in the creative domain. The organization remains optimistic about forging mutually advantageous collaborations with creators to facilitate the responsible utilization of AI technology within a diverse and content-rich ecosystem.
Earlier this month, a group of esteemed authors, including notable literary figures like Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang, initiated legal proceedings against OpenAI, a prominent artificial intelligence organization within the jurisdiction of San Francisco. These authors alleged that OpenAI had violated their intellectual property rights clearly, sparking a legal dispute.
Adapting Legal Strategies and Shaping Publishing Policies in the AI Era
In the preceding month of August, OpenAI faced a similar legal challenge when it moved to have two lawsuits dismissed. One of these legal actions involved comedian Sarah Silverman, while author Paul Tremblay instigated the other. In response to these legal claims, OpenAI submitted a formal argument asserting that the allegations misconceived the precise scope of copyright law. They contended that the complainants failed to fully appreciate the necessary limitations and exceptions inherent in copyright law, including the crucial concept of fair use.
OpenAI emphasized that these provisions are designed to create a balanced legal framework that accommodates and fosters transformative innovations like the impressive language models currently at the forefront of artificial intelligence research and development.
Notably, the objections raised by authors against the burgeoning influence of artificial intelligence in the realm of literature have reverberated through the industry. These objections have notably influenced Amazon.com, a major player in the book retailing sector. Amazon has promptly responded by adjusting its policies pertaining to e-books in light of these concerns.