More non-fiction authors are suing OpenAI and Microsoft

In November, a group of non-fiction authors filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI and Microsoft of using other people’s intellectual property without permission to train the former’s generative AI technology. Now, more non-fiction writers are suing the companies for using their work to train OpenAI’s GPT large language models (LLM). Journalists Nicholas A. Basbanes and Nicholas Gage are accusing the defendants of “massive and deliberate theft of copyrighted works” by writers like them in a proposed class action lawsuit.

Professional writers “have limited capital to fund their research” and “typically self-fund their projects,” they said in their complaint. Meanwhile, the defendants have “ready access to billions in capital” and “simply stole” the plaintiffs’ “copyrighted works to build another billion+ dollar commercial industry,” they allege. Using copyrighted works is a “deliberate strategy” by the companies, the complaint reads, and not paying writers give the defendants “an even higher profit margin.” The plaintiffs added that the companies could’ve explored alternative financing options, such as profit sharing, but have “decided to steal” instead.

Basbanes and Gage are seeking “to represent a class of writers whose copyrighted work has been systematically pilfered” by the defendants. They’re seeking up to $150,000 per infringed work in damages, as well as a permanent injunction “to prevent these harms from recurring.” Basbanes is a “renowned authority on the history of books and book culture.” Gage, according to the CNBC, had previously worked for the Times and The Wall Street Journal.

OpenAI is contending with a growing list of lawsuits filed by creatives accusing it of using their work without permission to train its LLMs, including one by fiction authors George R.R. Martin, John Grisham and Jodi Picoult. In late December 2023, The New York Times sued the company and its biggest backer, Microsoft, for using the newspaper’s articles for AI training. An OpenAI representative told us at the time that both parties were engaged in “productive conversations” and that the lawsuit was unexpected.

This article contains affilate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.