Authors Including Creator of ‘Game of Thrones’ File Legal Action Against OpenAI for Copyright Violations

by Andrew Wright
Copyright Infringement

George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, and Jodi Picoult are among a group of 17 writers who have initiated a lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the company of “widespread and willful infringement” of copyrighted material. This is the latest episode in a series of legal confrontations in which authors express growing concern over the unauthorized use of their copyrighted works by artificial intelligence software.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in a New York federal court, claims “overt and damaging breaches of the plaintiffs’ officially registered copyrights” and characterizes the ChatGPT program as a “large-scale commercial operation” dependent on “systematic, large-scale copyright violations.” The legal action is coordinated by the Authors Guild and involves other prominent authors such as David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand.

Mary Rasenberger, the CEO of the Authors Guild, stressed the urgency of halting these practices, stating, “If not curtailed, this widespread appropriation threatens to dismantle our rich literary tradition, a cornerstone of various other creative sectors in the United States.” She emphasized that quality literature is generally the output of authors who dedicate their lives and careers to honing their skills. “For the survival of our literary heritage, it is crucial that authors retain the capacity to govern how and when their work is utilized by generative AI technologies,” she added.

The lawsuit identifies explicit instances where ChatGPT is alleged to have infringed upon each author’s works. For instance, it accuses the program of generating “an unauthorized, detailed precursor plot” for George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones,” which was labeled “A Dawn of Direwolves” and featured characters from Martin’s existing “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

In a statement released on Wednesday, a spokesperson for OpenAI declared the company’s respect for “the intellectual property rights of writers and authors, acknowledging their right to gain from AI technology.” The statement further disclosed ongoing dialogues with a variety of creators, including the Authors Guild, in a cooperative effort to comprehend and address their concerns. “We are hopeful that collaborative avenues that benefit both parties will continue to emerge within this rapidly evolving technological landscape,” the statement noted.

Earlier this month, authors Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang were among those who filed a similar lawsuit against OpenAI in San Francisco, alleging “unambiguous infringement of intellectual property.” In August, OpenAI had petitioned a California federal judge to dismiss two analogous lawsuits, one involving comedian Sarah Silverman and the other from writer Paul Tremblay. OpenAI’s legal submission argued that the complaints “misinterpret the breadth of copyright law, neglecting to consider the constraints and allowances, such as fair use, that rightfully make room for advancements like the current leading-edge language models in AI.”

These unfolding legal conflicts have influenced Amazon.com, the nation’s foremost book seller, to revise its e-book policies. Amazon now requires authors wishing to publish via its Kindle Direct Program to inform the platform if they are incorporating AI-generated content. Furthermore, Amazon has capped the number of new self-published books that an author can release on Kindle Direct to three per day, aiming to curb the surge of AI-generated texts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Copyright Infringement

What is the core issue of the lawsuit filed against OpenAI?

The core issue is copyright infringement. A group of 17 authors, coordinated by the Authors Guild, has accused OpenAI of using their copyrighted works without permission through its ChatGPT program.

Who are the notable authors involved in the lawsuit?

Prominent authors such as George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, and Jodi Picoult are part of the lawsuit. Other authors involved include David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand.

What is the stance of the Authors Guild on this matter?

The Authors Guild is coordinating the legal action and has stated that unchecked use of copyrighted material by AI technologies like ChatGPT threatens to dismantle the rich literary culture of the United States.

What specific allegations are made against ChatGPT?

The lawsuit alleges that ChatGPT generated unauthorized and detailed outlines or plots based on copyrighted works. For instance, it created a “prequel” outline for George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” series.

How has OpenAI responded to the lawsuit?

OpenAI has released a statement saying that the company respects the intellectual property rights of writers and authors. They are in ongoing dialogues with creators, including the Authors Guild, to address their concerns and are optimistic about finding mutually beneficial solutions.

Have there been similar lawsuits filed against OpenAI?

Yes, earlier this month, authors including Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang filed a similar lawsuit in San Francisco. OpenAI had also petitioned to dismiss two other similar cases earlier, involving comedian Sarah Silverman and author Paul Tremblay.

How has this legal action influenced other platforms like Amazon?

Amazon.com has revised its policies for authors who wish to publish through its Kindle Direct Program. Authors must now inform Amazon if they are incorporating AI-generated material, and are limited to publishing three new self-published books per day.

What are the broader implications for the creative industries?

The Authors Guild warns that if this issue is not addressed, the widespread unauthorized use of copyrighted material by AI could have damaging implications not only for the literary world but for various other creative sectors in the United States.

More about Copyright Infringement

  • Copyright Law Overview
  • OpenAI’s Official Statement on the Lawsuit
  • Authors Guild’s Position on AI and Copyright
  • Previous Lawsuits Against OpenAI
  • Amazon’s Updated Policies on AI-Generated Content
  • U.S. Literary Culture and its Importance

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JohnSmith123 September 21, 2023 - 3:12 pm

Wow, this is huge news! OpenAI gettin’ sued by these big authors like George R.R. Martin? thats gotta hurt their reputation.

NovelNerd September 21, 2023 - 4:25 pm

As a fan of many of these authors, I’m kinda torn. Love advancements in tech, but not at the cost of ripping off authors’ hard work.

LiteraryFanatic September 21, 2023 - 7:08 pm

Seriously, authors spend their lives crafting these stories. Using them without permission is straight up theft! Totally get why they’re suing.

CryptoQueen September 22, 2023 - 3:30 am

Isn’t OpenAI the same company thats been working on a lot of other innovative tech? Wonder how this will impact their other projects.

LegalEagle September 22, 2023 - 4:12 am

I’m not a copyright expert, but this could set a major precedent for how AI interacts with copyrighted material. Keep an eye on this one, it’s a game changer.

AI_Skeptic September 22, 2023 - 4:49 am

Finally, someone’s taking action. been saying this for years, AI is not always the answer, sometimes it causes more problems than it solves.

TechEnthusiast September 22, 2023 - 6:45 am

Hold on guys. Lets not forget, AI can also bring a lot of benefits to the table. This could be a complicated issue, more than just black and white.


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