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Center for Investigative Reporting sues Microsoft, OpenAI for violating copyright

Rappler.com

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Center for Investigative Reporting sues Microsoft, OpenAI for violating copyright
Monika Buerlein, CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting, says 'OpenAI and Microsoft started vacuuming up our stories to make their product more powerful, but they never asked for permission or offered compensation, unlike other organizations that license our material'

MANILA, Philippines – The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) announced last Thursday, June 27, it was suing Microsoft and OpenAI for violating its copyright.

The lawsuit filed by CIR, which produces the sites Mother Jones and Reveal, said OpenAI “copied, used, abridged, and displayed CIR’s valuable content without CIR’s permission or authorization, and without any compensation to CIR.” It further explained OpenAI’s “products undermine and damage CIR’s relationship with potential readers, consumers, and partners.”

In a statement, Monika Buerlein, the chief executive of CIR, said, “OpenAI and Microsoft started vacuuming up our stories to make their product more powerful, but they never asked for permission or offered compensation, unlike other organizations that license our material.” She also criticized this free rider behavior, declaring it a violation of journalists’ copyright. 

This is not the first time OpenAI and Microsoft have been sued for unauthorized use of training data. In December last year, the New York Times filed a lawsuit against the two companies for generating its content verbatim and mimicking its writing style. Two months ago, seven other publications lodged a legal complaint with similar claims as the New York Times.

Meanwhile, the Authors Guild, composed of famous fiction writers, pursued legal action against Open AI in September 2023 for allegedly undermining and financially affecting writers. 

In response to CIR’s lawsuit, a representative of OpenAI spoke to CNBC, saying, “We are working collaboratively with the news industry and partnering with global news publishers to display their content in our products like ChatGPT, including summaries, quotes, and attribution, to drive traffic back to the original articles.”

The representative mentioned that the partnerships include leveraging publisher content to augment the user experience. 

The CNBC article also shared that the fight against OpenAI and Microsoft may not be a united front. Recently, entities like Time Magazine and News Corp have entered a partnership with the AI company to train its AI models. 

Even Vox Media, the parent company of The Verge and SB Nation, is collaborating with OpenAI to develop products for advertising partners and consumers. – Rav Ayag/Rappler.com

Rav Ayag is a Tech and Features intern at Rappler. He is an incoming senior at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. 

This story was vetted by a reporter and an editor.

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