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Eight newspapers sue OpenAI and Microsoft over AI| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Eight newspapers owned by Alden Global Capital sued OpenAI and Microsoft on Tuesday, accusing the tech companies of illegally using news articles to power their AI chatbots.

The publications (The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, The Sun Sentinel of Florida, The San Jose Mercury News, The Denver Post, The Orange County Register and The St. Paul Pioneer Press) filed the complaint with the federal court. court of the Southern District of New York, United States. All are owned by MediaNews Group or Tribune Publishing, subsidiaries of Alden, the country's second-largest newspaper operator.

In the complaint, the publications accuse OpenAI and Microsoft of using millions of copyrighted articles without permission to train and power their generative AI products, including ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot. The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, but asks for a jury trial and says the publishers were owed compensation for use of the content.

The complaint said the chatbots regularly displayed the full text of articles behind subscription paywalls to users and often did not prominently link to the source. This, she claimed, reduced the need for readers to pay subscriptions to support local newspapers and deprived publishers of revenue from both subscriptions and licensing their content elsewhere.

“We have spent billions of dollars gathering information and reporting news in our publications, and we cannot allow OpenAI and Microsoft to expand Big Tech's playbook of stealing our work to build their own businesses at our expense,” said Frank Pine, the executive editor who oversees Alden newspapers said in a statement.

The lawsuit adds to a fight over using data to drive generative AI. Online information, including articles, Wikipedia posts and other data, has increasingly become the lifeblood of this booming industry. A recent investigation by The New York Times found that numerous technology companies, in their eagerness to keep pace, had ignored policies and debated circumventing copyright law in an effort to obtain as much data as possible to train chatbots.

The editors have paid attention to the use of their content. In December, The times sued OpenAI and Microsoft, accusing them of using copyrighted articles to train chatbots that then competed with the newspaper as a source of news and information. Microsoft has sought to have parts of that lawsuit fired. He also argued that The Times had not shown real harm and that the big language models powering chatbots had not replaced the market for news articles. OpenAI has archived a similar argument.

Other publications have tried to reach agreements with technology companies in exchange for compensation. The Financial Times, owned by the Japanese company Nikkei, saying on Monday that it had reached a deal with OpenAI to allow it to use content from the Financial Times to train its AI chatbots. The Financial Times did not disclose the terms of the agreement.

OpenAI has also reached agreements with Axel Springer, the German publishing giant that owns Business Insider and Politico; The Associated Press; and Le Monde, the French media outlet.

The Alden newspaper's lawsuit, filed by the law firm Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, accuses OpenAI and Microsoft of copyright infringement, unfair competition by misappropriation, and trademark dilution. The newspapers say the chatbots falsely attributed inaccurate or misleading reports to the publications, “tarnishing the reputation of the newspapers and spreading dangerous information.”

One example included ChatGPT's response to a question about which baby lounger The Chicago Tribune recommended. ChatGPT, according to the complaint, responded that The Tribune recommended the Boppy Newborn Lounger, a product that was recalled after it was linked to infant deaths and which the newspaper had never recommended.

In a separate incident, an AI chatbot claimed that The Denver Post had published research indicating that smoking could potentially cure asthma, a complete lie, according to the complaint.

“This matter is not just a business problem for a handful of newspapers or for the newspaper industry as a whole,” the lawsuit says. “It is a critical issue for civic life in the United States.”

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