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John Grisham, Other Top US Authors Sue OpenAI For Copyright Infringement

'Game of Thrones' creator John Grisham, other top US authors sue OpenAI for using their work to train ChatGPT, which they say is a violation of their copyright. Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, and Jodi Picoult are among the other writers who have sued.

Henry Hamer
Sep 22, 2023598 Shares35182 Views
'Game of Thrones' creator John Grisham, other top US authors sue OpenAIfor using their work to train ChatGPT, which they say is a violation of their copyright. Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, and Jodi Picoult are among the other writers who have sued.
The Authors Guild filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against generative AI providers late on Tuesday. It joins a number of other lawsuits made by writers, people who own source code, and visual artists. In addition to OpenAI, which is backed by Microsoft, Meta Platforms and Stability AI are also being sued over the data used to teach their AI systems.
Other authors involved in the new lawsuit are Michael Connelly, who wrote "The Lincoln Lawyer," and David Baldacci and Scott Turow, who both write novels about lawyers.

John Grisham, Other Top US Authors Sue OpenAI

A man holding a phone with OpenAI logo
A man holding a phone with OpenAI logo
The company that made ChatGPT, OpenAI, is being sued by best-selling authors like George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, and Elin Hilderbrand, who say that the company fed their books into its "large language models," breaking their copyrights and committing "massive, systematic theft."
The Authors Guild and 17 well-known authors, such as Scott Turow, Jodi Picoult, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, and George Saunders, filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday. When OpenAI was asked for feedback, they didn't answer right away.
The CEO of the Authors Guild, Mary Rasenberger, said in a statement:
“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.- Mary Rasenberger
The complaintis the latest legal problem OpenAI has had to deal with because of the data it gets and uses to make the algorithm that powers ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence tool that can answer questions and write text in a way that sounds like a person would. Companies like OpenAI use LLMs, which are big language models that are fed a lot of text and data, to make these AIs.
The lawsuit said this about ChatGPT and the LLMs it is based on:
ChatGPT and the LLMs underlying it seriously threaten the livelihood of the very authors including plaintiffs here, as discussed specifically below on whose works they were 'trained' without the authors' consent.- ChatGPT lawsuit
It also said:
ChatGPT is being used to make bad ebooks by pretending to be authors and replacing books written by people.- ChatGPT lawsuit
The lawsuit uses specific ChatGPT searches for each author, like one for Martin that says the program made "an infringing, unauthorized, and detailed outline for a prequel" to "A Game of Thrones" called "A Dawn of Direwolves" that used "the same characters from Martin's existing books in the series "A Song of Ice and Fire."
In a statement released Wednesday, an OpenAI spokesperson said that the company "the rights of writers and authors, and believe they should benefit from AI technology."
We’re having productive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, and have been working cooperatively to understand and discuss their concerns about AI. We’re optimistic we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together to help people utilize new technology in a rich content ecosystem.- OpenAI spokesperson
The proposed class-action lawsuit is one of a few recent lawsuits against companies that make famous generative artificial intelligence tools, such as large language models and image-generation models. In July, two writers sued OpenAI for the same thing, saying that the company used their books to train its chatbot without their permission.
In February, Getty Images sued Stability AI, saying that the company behind the popular text-to-image creator stole 12 million of Getty's pictures to use as training data. In January, Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt were sued by a group of people who said that their AI picture generators violated copyright laws.
A proposed class-action case was filed in November against Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI. It says that the companies used licensed code to train their code generators. There are several other cases going on right now that involve generative AI. In its statement, the Authors Guild says:
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.- Authors Guild

Final Words

John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, and George R.R. Martin are among the 17 authors who are suing OpenAI for "systematic theft on a mass scale." This is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed by writers who are worried that artificial intelligence programs are using their written works without permission.
In papers filed Tuesday in federal court in New York, the writers claimed "flagrant and harmful infringements of plaintiffs' registered copyrights" and called the ChatGPT program a "massive commercial enterprise" that depends on "systematic theft on a mass scale."
The Authors Guild set up the lawsuit, and David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand are among the authors who are part of it.
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