OpenAI says the New York Times’ lawsuit is “without merit”



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OpenAI has released a statement regarding the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the New York Times (NYT), in which the newspaper accuses OpenAI and Microsoft of using millions of NYT articles without a license to train its AI models.

In the statement, OpenAI reiterates its accusation that the New York Times manipulated prompts to intentionally provoke copyright infringement.

OpenAI also reiterates its position that training AI models with publicly available Internet material is fair use.

Large AI models learn from the “enormous aggregate of human knowledge” and any training content is only a “tiny” contribution to the model’s performance. In OpenAI’s view, the New York Times articles are “not significant” for training AI models like GPT-4.

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The NYT believes that its content was intentionally overweighted in the training material to improve the quality of text generation. Since OpenAI has not made its training material for its latest models transparent, we simply don’t know.

OpenAI wants to be a “good citizen”

The opt-out mechanism offered to publishers to prevent OpenAI tools from accessing their sites is a concession from OpenAI’s perspective because it’s “the right thing to do.” For OpenAI, being a “good citizen” is more important than insisting on its rights, it says.

The memorization or “regurgitation” of content by its LLMs, as demonstrated by the New York Times in the lawsuit, is a “rare bug” in the learning process that the company is working to fix. “Much progress” has already been made with recent models, OpenAI says.

Provoking this bug through deliberate prompts is an intentional violation of OpenAI’s terms of service, the company claims. This statement was previously made by Tom Rubin, OpenAI’s head of intellectual property and content.

New York Times allegedly acted in a non-transparent manner

The New York Times is also “not telling the full story,” OpenAI claims. The failed negotiations between the NYT and OpenAI concerned the display of real-time content in ChatGPT.

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