NYT v. OpenAI: A Copyright Story

The New York Times (NYT) is contemplating legal action against OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT. The crux of the dispute lies in copyright concerns surrounding the use of the newspaper’s content.

Negotiations between the two entities have been ongoing, with NYT aiming for a licensing agreement that would allow OpenAI to incorporate its stories into AI tools. However, these discussions have reached an impasse, pushing the newspaper to consider litigation.

A significant worry for NYT is ChatGPT’s potential to act as a competitor. The AI model can generate text based on the newspaper’s original content, potentially reducing traffic to NYT’s website. This concern is magnified with tech giants like Microsoft integrating ChatGPT into platforms like Bing.

Back in February, I explored this question in my article, Will Conversational AI Kill Web Traffic?

The broader debate revolves around the ethics and legality of gathering training data. So far, anyone who needs to train an AI model has enjoyed virtually unrestricted access to the public internet. Companies like OpenAI and Meta have scraped vast amounts of publicly available web content without explicit authorization, leading to questions about copyright infringement. If OpenAI is deemed to have violated copyrights, the consequences could be severe, both in terms of financial penalties and potential data restrictions. Watch this very closely as the economics of AI’s transition from curation to generation may hang in the balance.

If you want to know more about how AI models are trained, sign up for our free online course Generative AI for Execs. You’ll learn how companies like OpenAI train large language models and how to use your own data for training.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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