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OpenAI claims New York Times misused ChatGPT to fabricate lawsuit evidence


OpenAI has filed a request with a federal judge to dismiss certain aspects of a copyright lawsuit brought against it by The New York Times, alleging that the newspaper employed deceptive tactics to create misleading evidence, as reported by Reuters. The lawsuit revolves around claims of unauthorized use of copyrighted material from The Times to train OpenAI’s AI systems, specifically the popular ChatGPT, sparking a debate on copyright law and AI technology boundaries.

In its defense, OpenAI stated in a recent court filing in Manhattan that The New York Times violated OpenAI’s terms of use by using “deceptive prompts” to coerce the AI into replicating the newspaper’s content. OpenAI argues that this approach was orchestrated to fabricate evidence for the lawsuit, undermining the integrity of the legal process. The filing criticized The Times for not upholding its own rigorous journalistic standards, implying that an external party was employed to intentionally manipulate OpenAI’s products.

Central to this legal dispute is the contentious issue of whether training AI on copyrighted content qualifies as fair use, a doctrine allowing limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes like news reporting, teaching, and research. Tech firms, including OpenAI, assert that their AI systems using copyrighted material fall under fair use, crucial for advancing AI technologies that could shape a multi-trillion-dollar industry. On the other hand, copyright holders such as The New York Times argue that such practices violate their copyrights, unfairly benefiting from their substantial investments in original content.

Why is OpenAI and Microsoft facing a lawsuit?

The lawsuit against OpenAI and its primary backer, Microsoft, is part of a wider trend of copyright litigations targeting tech companies concerning AI training methods. However, courts have not definitively ruled on the fair use issue in the AI context, with some infringement claims being dismissed due to insufficient evidence of AI-generated content closely resembling copyrighted works.

OpenAI’s filing highlights the difficulties of using ChatGPT to systematically reproduce copyrighted articles, asserting that the instances cited by The Times were anomalies resulting from extensive manipulation. The company also argues that AI models naturally assimilating knowledge from various sources, including copyrighted material, is unavoidable and cannot be legally restricted, drawing a parallel with traditional journalistic practices of reporting news.

As the lawsuit progresses, the verdict could significantly influence the future of AI development and the interpretation of copyright law in the digital era. A ruling favoring OpenAI could cement AI’s fair use of copyrighted content legally, potentially hastening AI technology advancement. Conversely, a ruling favoring The New York Times may impose new constraints on AI training, affecting the growth of AI capabilities and the tech industry’s trajectory.

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