The New York Times takes on Artificial Intelligence

December 27, 2023Media Mention
KCBS Radio

Doug Mirell, litigation partner and First Amendment expert, was interviewed on KCBS Radio about The New York Times’ copyright infringement lawsuit against Open AI and Microsoft.


Bret Burkhart: Didn't we just recently have a ruling against authors of books that took on AI and the algorithms that skimmed their books?

Doug Mirell: So, we did – at least, preliminarily.  But not definitively, because the issues recently decided in those cases are not the issue that is posed by this lawsuit. In this case, The New York Times is going after training of the AI bot with New York Times content. That's also an issue with those other cases brought by people like John Grisham, and another case brought by Sarah Silverman, another by Getty Images. But none of those cases has yet reached that issue, and that's really the heart of the [Times’] case at this point.

Patti Reising: So, how strong of a case do you think The New York Times has?

Doug Mirell: The 70-page complaint filed in a federal court in New York is pretty detailed and shows a rather striking pattern of ChatGPT mimicking, often verbatim, large portions of The New York Times’ content. Indeed, in one instance, ChatGPT was asked to provide the content from an entire paragraph of a Times story because the reader wasn't able to access it through the paper’s paywall since they didn't have a subscription.   So that kind of shows, significantly I think, how economically damaging this could be.