The Author’s Guild Launches Class-Action Lawsuit Against OpenAI – The Author’s Guild in the United States initiated a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, which is supported by Microsoft. This legal action is in response to OpenAI’s purported misuse of copyrighted material during the training of its artificial intelligence (AI) models.
According to court documents, the oldest and largest professional organization for writers in the U.S. is operating under the Copyright Act and seeking “redress” for what it calls “flagrant and harmful infringement” of registered copyrights in written works of fiction. It goes on to argue that works were copied wholesale and without permission or “consideration” by feeding 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 said it represents 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 make a living.
The suggestion was that OpenAI had alternatives, such as training the AI models using public domain materials or compensating for the use of copyrighted works by paying a licensing fee. “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 11, the Guild published a post on X discussing methods for authors to safeguard their work from AI web crawlers. At the top of its profile, the Author’s Guild features a link to its advocacy efforts concerning AI technologies. This recent legal action by the Author’s Guild comes in the wake of a similar lawsuit involving Meta and OpenAI, where both companies faced allegations of employing copyrighted material in their AI model training.
The lawsuit, originally initiated by author Sarah Silverman and others in July, has seen both companies now request the dismissal of the claims. In August, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a notice of inquiry regarding AI, soliciting public input on matters related to AI content creation and the regulatory approach to AI-generated content mimicking human creations. Before this inquiry, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell had ruled that artwork created solely by AI does not qualify for copyright protection.