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Famous Authors Sued Microsoft and OpenAI

Two nonfiction book authors filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI(Chat GPT), saying that the defendants “simply stole” their copyrighted writings to help construct a billion-dollar artificial intelligence system.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, comes more than a week after The New York Times sued Microsoft and OpenAI, which created the AI chatbot ChatGPT, in a similar copyright infringement complaint alleging the companies used the newspaper’s content to train large language models. Microsoft is an investor in and a supplier to OpenAI. The current action, filed by writers Nicholas Basbanes and Nicholas Gauge, adds that, following the Times’ suit, the defendants “publicly acknowledged that copyright owners like Plaintiffs must be compensated for Defendants’ use of their work.” The Times complaint wants “billions of dollars” in monetary damages.

According to the lawsuit, Basbanes and Gauge aim to represent a class of writers “whose copyrighted work has been systematically pilfered by” Microsoft and OpenAI.

“They’re no different than any other thief,” according to the suit.

According to the lawsuit, that class would include any persons in the United States “who are authors or legal beneficial owners” of copyrights for works that the defendants have or are using to “train their large language models.” The complaint expects that the class will number in the tens of thousands.

The action demands up to $150,000 in damages for each work infringed upon by the defendants. In September, a number of notable American fiction writers, including George R.R. Martin, Jonathan Franzen, and Michael Connelly, sued OpenAI for copyright infringement in Manhattan federal court, claiming to represent a class of fiction writers.
Mike Richter, the lawyer representing Basbanes and Gauge, as well as Basbanes’ son-in-law, stated that their new complaint will cover a bigger class of claimants and should be named the lead class action claim on the matter for these and other reasons. Companies appear to undervalue the job of authors for some reason.

According to the current complaint, OpenAI’s system is educated by absorbing “massive amounts of written material,” including books published by Basbanes and Gauge.

Basbanes is a long-time journalist and author of various books about books and collectors, including “A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books.”Gauge is the author of numerous more novels and served as an executive producer for the film “The Godfather III.”

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