OpenAI & Microsoft Sued by 8 Daily Newspapers

new york daily news

8 daily newspapers including New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune sued OpenAI and Microsoft accusing the companies of using news content illegally to train and power their chatbots.

The lawsuits just don’t end, do they? In the latest, 8 daily newspaper brands owned by Alden Global Capital – namely, 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 – have accused OpenAI and its partner in crime Microsoft of illegally acquiring heaps of news content from these newspapers to train their chatbots.

Did the early AI companies move too fast? Did their researchers actually make a mistake by not envisioning a copyright problem of this magnitude? Or did the promise of more usefulness trumped these concerns internally? Well, we cannot shy away from the fact that if not trained on proprietary data such as literature copyrighted by authors and news stories published by journalists, these models won’t be worth much. Public domain is too constricting.

The New York Times has already sued OpenAI for copyright infringement (that’s a different business owned by the Ochs-Sulzberger family).

Alden Global Capital is the second largest newspaper publisher in the US after it purchased Tribune Publishing in May 2021. The company is notorious for layoffs and cutting costs, with major publications calling it things like “the grim reaper of American newspapers” and “one of the most ruthless of the corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism.”

Well, with 200-odd newspapers, it’s a major voice in town, that can’t be refuted. And the voice is now against AI companies using the hard work of journalists to power their own tools that don’t give back or even reference the original articles they are using to generate responses.

The main problem is that AI text generators can bypass paywalls. If a website has put up a paywall, it doesn’t want users to freely consume the content. The chatbot goes through that, sometimes regurgitating entire news stories without paying a penny to its users for free.

We’ve spent billions of dollars gathering information and reporting news at our publications, and we can’t allow OpenAI and Microsoft to expand the Big Tech playbook of stealing our work to build their own businesses at our expense.

Frank Pine, Executive Editor, Alden Global Capital

OpenAI and Microsoft are responding in the best way available to them. Of course, they can’t just remove all that juicy stuff from their training. But they can partner with these news and media houses (there are others with similar concerns as well). Maybe they will pay them retroactively too? Who knows.

By Abhimanyu

Unwrapping the fast-evolving AI popular culture.