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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

United States Author's Guild Launches Class Action Lawsuit Against OpenAI

Updated: Oct 4, 2023


According to a representative from Cointelegraph, on September 19th, the Author’s Guild in the United States launched a class-action lawsuit against the Microsoft-backed OpenAI due to allegedly misusing copyrighted material in the training of its artificial intelligence (AI) models.


According to court filings, the oldest and largest professional organization for writers in the United States is operating under the Copyright Act and pursuing “redress” for what it identifies as “flagrant and harmful infringement” of registered copyrights in written works of fiction.

It continues on to contend that creations were duplicated wholesale and absent of permission or “consideration” by inputting them into large language models (LLMs).


“These algorithms are at the heart of Defendants’ massive commercial enterprise. And at the heart of these

algorithms is systematic theft on a mass

scale.”


The Author’s Guild expressed that it serves on behalf of a class of professional fiction writers whose “works spring from their own minds and their creative literary expression.” It says, therefore, that since their livelihoods derive from these creative works, the LLMs “endanger” the ability of fiction writers to gain monetarily from their creations.


It proposed that the AI models could’ve been trained via the public domain, or OpenAI could have expended a licensing fee for authorized use of the copyrighted works.


“What Defendants could not do was evade the Copyright Act altogether to power their lucrative commercial endeavor, taking whatever datasets of relatively recent books they could get their hands on without authorization.”


On September 11th, the Guild posted an article on X (formerly Twitter) about how authors can protect their work from AI web crawlers.



Pinned to the top of its profile, the Author’s Guild has a link to its advocacy work in regard to AI technologies.


This filing from the Author’s Guild follows updates in a similar lawsuit against Meta and OpenAI and their respective AI models using copyrighted material in training.

Author Sarah Silverman and others initiated the lawsuit in July; nonetheless, now both respondents have requested judges to dismiss the claims.


In August, the United States Copyright Office issued a notice of inquiry on AI, requesting public opinion on topics related to AI content creation and how it should be addressed by policymakers when AI content imitates that which is created by human creators.


Preceding the notice of inquiry, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that artwork created solely by AI is not entitled to copyright protection.











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