OpenAI maintains that they respect “the rights of writers and authors, and believes they should benefit from AI technology”
“Game of Thrones’” author George R.R. Martin and best-selling authors John Grisham, Jodi Picoult are among 17 authors suing OpenAI for “systematic theft on a mass scale.”
This suit is the latest in a wave of legal action initiated by writers and authors concerned that artificial intelligence programs are using their copyrighted works without permission.
In papers filed Tuesday, September 19, 2023, in federal court in New York, the authors alleged “flagrant and harmful infringements of plaintiffs’ registered copyrights.”
They called the popular AI-powered language model, ChatGPT, program a “massive commercial enterprise” that is reliant upon “systematic theft on a mass scale.”
The suit was organized by the Authors Guild, a New York-based professional organization for published writers, and other famous authors such as David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand.
“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.,” Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger said in a statement.
“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.”
The lawsuit cites specific ChatGPT searches for each author, such as one for George that alleges the program generated “an infringing, unauthorized, and detailed outline for a prequel” to “A Game of Thrones” that was titled “A Dawn of Direwolves” and used “the same characters from George’s existing books in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
Open AI responds
On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, an OpenAI spokesperson said that the company respects “the rights of writers and authors, and believes they should benefit from AI technology.”
“We’re having productive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, and have been working cooperatively to understand and discuss their concerns about AI. We’re optimistic we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together to help people utilize new technology in a rich content ecosystem,” the statement reads.
Earlier this September, a handful of other authors including Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang sued OpenAI in San Francisco for “clear infringement of intellectual property.”
Author objections to AI have led Amazon.com, one of the world’s largest book retailers, to change its policies on e-books. The online giant is now asking writers who want to publish through its Kindle Direct Program to notify Amazon in advance that they are including AI-generated material.
Amazon is also limiting authors to three new self-published books on Kindle Direct per day, in an effort to restrict the proliferation of AI texts.