Leading authors including George RR Martin, David Baldacci and John Grisham have joined forces to sue OpenAI for alleged “mass copyright infringement.”
The writers are among 17 members of the Authors Guild engaged in a legal battle against OpenAI, Chat GPT’s parent company.
The authors claim that their books have been ‘input’ into algorithms to train AI and used to create derivative texts based on their work.
The class action filed in New York on Tuesday also highlighted that many of the texts were obtained through illegal pirate sites and shadow libraries, such as Library Genesis and Z-Library.
The Authors Guild said it organized the lawsuit out of fear that generative AI could “decimate” the profession and highlighted the “profound unfairness and danger” of using copyrighted texts to train AI.
Memory Man author David Baldacci said he felt ‘violated’ when he learned his work had been entered into AI algorithms without his consent
Rachel Geman, a partner at Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel for plaintiffs and the proposed class, said: “Defendants’ decision to copy authors’ works, done without offering any choice or offering any compensation, threatens the role and the livelihood of writers as a whole. .’
Scott Sholder, a partner at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard and co-counsel for Plaintiffs and the proposed class, added: “Plaintiffs do not object to the development of generative AI, but Defendants had no right to use their AI technologies to develop with unauthorized use of copyrighted works of the authors.
“Defendants could have ‘trained’ their large language models on works in the public domain or paid a reasonable licensing fee to use copyrighted works.”
It comes two months after authors Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay filed the first class action lawsuit against OpenAI over copyright.
Memory man author David Baldacci, one of the authors suing, said Good morning America that he felt “violated” after discovering that Chat GPT could produce text that mimicked his style.
He said: ‘I thought my God, I feel so violated. It’s like someone took my entire library without me knowing.
The author of the Game of Thrones book series, George RR Martin, is among the authors whose works were spoofed by Chat GPT, according to The Authors Guild
National Book Award winner Jonathan Franzen said authors should have ‘the right to opt-in’ to have their work used by Chat GPT and other AI
‘If you can automate this, you can automate everything and no one will have a reason to get out of bed. It feels like an existential threat to everything that makes us human.”
The lawsuit alleges that Chat GPT accurately created summaries for his works when requested, as well as for the “next purported part” of his novel The simple truthand an ‘unauthorized derivative’ with the title The complex justice, with the same characters from his existing book.
The Guild also said that Chat GPT had made attempts to generate parts six and seven of George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones series A Song of Ice and Fire.
Fellow prosecutor George Saunders, author of the Booker Prize Lincoln in the Bardo, said, “Writers should be fairly compensated for their work. Fair pay means that someone’s work is valued in a clear and simple way.
‘This tells the culture what to think about that work and the people who do it. And the work of the writer – the human imagination, which struggles with reality and tries to distinguish virtue and responsibility – is essential for a functioning democracy.’
My Sisters Keeper author Jodi Picoult is one of seventeen writers suing OpenAI for copyright infringement, along with The Authors Guild.
The authors, including Jodi Picoult, Sylvia Day and Jonathan Franzen, are seeking damages for losing the ability to license their works.
Franzen said: “Generative AI is a huge new field for Silicon Valley’s long-standing content provider exploitation. Authors should have the right to decide when their works are used to ‘train’ AI. If they choose to participate, they should receive appropriate compensation.”
According to the Guild’s latest author income survey, the average full-time author income in 2022 was barely over $20,000, including books and other author-related activities. While 10 percent of authors earn well above the median, half earn even less.
In a statement, OpenAI said: “We respect the rights of authors and believe they should benefit from AI technology and are working to understand their concerns.”