A group of 17 authors, including renowned writers such as John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, and George R.R. Martin, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the organization of “systematic theft on a mass scale.” This legal action is part of a growing trend among authors who are concerned that artificial intelligence programs are using their copyrighted works without permission.
The lawsuit, organized by the Authors Guild, alleges “flagrant and harmful infringements of plaintiffs’ registered copyrights.” It specifically targets OpenAI’s ChatGPT program, which is described as a “massive commercial enterprise” relying on “systematic theft on a mass scale.”
Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, stated, “It is imperative that we stop this theft in its tracks or we will destroy our incredible literary culture, which feeds many other creative industries in the U.S. Great books are generally written by those who spend their careers and, indeed, their lives, learning and perfecting their crafts. To preserve our literature, authors must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI.”
The lawsuit provides evidence of specific ChatGPT searches for each author, including one for George R.R. Martin, which alleges that the program generated an “infringing, unauthorized, and detailed outline for a prequel” to “A Game of Thrones.” OpenAI is accused of using the same characters from Martin’s existing books in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire.”
OpenAI responded to the lawsuit, stating that the company respects the rights of writers and authors and believes they should benefit from AI technology. The organization is in discussions with creators, including the Authors Guild, to address their concerns about AI.
This lawsuit follows previous legal action by authors, including Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang, who sued OpenAI for alleged infringement of intellectual property. OpenAI had previously requested the dismissal of two similar lawsuits in California, claiming that the claims misconceive the scope of copyright.
Author objections to AI have already prompted changes in Amazon.com’s policies on e-books. Amazon is now requiring writers who want to publish through its Kindle Direct Program to notify the company in advance if they are including AI-generated material and is limiting authors to three new self-published books on Kindle Direct per day to restrict the proliferation of AI-generated texts.