John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, and George R.R. Martin, along with 14 other authors, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the organization of “systematic theft on a mass scale.” These authors are concerned that artificial intelligence (AI) programs, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, are using their copyrighted works without permission.
The lawsuit was organized by the Authors Guild and includes well-known authors like David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand. In the filed papers, the authors argue that there have been “flagrant and harmful infringements” on their registered copyrights, and they describe the ChatGPT program as a “massive commercial enterprise” that relies on “systematic theft on a mass scale.”
Mary Rasenberger, the CEO of the Authors Guild, emphasizes the importance of stopping this alleged theft, stating that it could potentially destroy the literary culture that feeds many other creative industries in the US. She argues that authors should have the ability to control how their works are used by generative AI in order to preserve literature.
The lawsuit references specific searches conducted on ChatGPT for each author. For instance, it claims that the program generated an unauthorized prequel to George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” titled “A Dawn of Direwolves,” using the same characters from Martin’s existing books. The authors argue that this constitutes infringement on their intellectual property rights.
OpenAI, an organization known for its work in AI and natural language processing, responded to the lawsuit by stating that they respect the rights of writers and authors and believe that they should benefit from AI technology. They expressed their optimism in finding mutually beneficial ways to work with creators, including the Authors Guild.
This is not the first legal action taken against OpenAI regarding AI-generated content. Earlier this month, several authors, including Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang, sued OpenAI in San Francisco for alleged infringement of intellectual property.
In August, OpenAI asked a federal judge in California to dismiss two similar lawsuits, one involving comedian Sarah Silverman and the other from author Paul Tremblay. OpenAI argued that these claims misconceive the scope of copyright, failing to take into account limitations and exceptions like fair use, which allow for innovative AI models.
The objections raised by authors against AI have also resulted in changes to Amazon’s policies on e-books. The online retail giant now requires writers who include AI-generated material in their books to notify Amazon in advance. Additionally, Amazon limits authors to publishing three new self-published books on Kindle Direct per day, aiming to restrict the proliferation of AI-generated texts.
As the impact of AI on the creative industry continues to grow, it remains crucial to navigate the legal and ethical implications of using copyrighted works in AI-generated content. Finding a balance between protecting intellectual property rights and fostering innovation will be essential for the future of AI and literature.