A trade group which represents US authors, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Jodi Picault and “Game of Thrones” novelist George R.R. Martin has sued OpenAI in a Manhattan federal court, alleging the company wrongfully trained their artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT on their copyrighted work.
Filed on Tuesday by the Author’s Guild, the proposed class-action lawsuit will join several other suits being brought by writers, source-code owners, and visual artists, against generative AI providers. Other lawsuits are pending against other AI companies beyond OpenAI, such as Meta Platforms and Stability AI regarding the data which their systems were trained on.
Also parties to the new lawsuit are “The Lincoln Lawyer” writer Michael Connelly and lawyer-novelists David Baldacci and Scott Turow.
OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. The defendants in the AI lawsuits, including OpenAI, have said that using data scraped from the internet is fair use under the US copyright law.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mary Reasenberger, the CEO of Authors Guild, said that authors, “must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI” in order to “preserve our literature.”
The lawsuit by the Authors Guild asserts that the datasets used in the training of OpenAI’s large language model to respond to human prompts had within it text from the author’s books which may have been acquired through illegal “pirate” book depositories.
The complaint notes that when prompted, ChatGPT will generate accurate summaries of the author’s books, which indicates the AI’s database includes the text from the author’s books.
The complaint also points out that there is growing concerns over authors potentially being replaced by systems such as ChatGPT, which “generate low-quality ebooks, impersonating authors and displacing human-authored books.”