John Grisham, Jodi Picoult and George RR Martin are among 17 authors suing OpenAI for “large-scale systematic theft,” the latest in a wave of lawsuits filed by writers concerned that artificial intelligence programs use their copyrighted works without permission.
In documents filed Tuesday in a New York federal court, the authors alleged “egregious and harmful violations of plaintiffs’ registered copyrights” and called the ChatGPT program a “massive commercial enterprise” that relies on “a systematic theft on a large scale.”
The trial was organized by the Authors Guild and also includes David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen and Elin Hilderbrand, among others.
“It is imperative that we stop this theft, or we will destroy our incredible literary culture, which nourishes many other creative industries in the United States,” Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, said in a statement.
“Great books are usually written by those who spend their careers, and even their lives, learning and perfecting their craft. To preserve our literature, authors must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI.
The lawsuit cites specific ChatGPT searches for each author, such as Martin’s which alleges the program generated “an infringing, unauthorized, detailed preview of a prequel” for A game of thrones it was titled Dawn of the Werewolves and used “the same characters from Martin’s existing books in the series A song of ice and fire.”
OpenAI’s press office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Earlier this month, a handful of authors, including Michael Chabon and David Henry Hwang, sued OpenAI in San Francisco for “gross intellectual property infringement.”
In August, OpenAI asked a federal judge in California to dismiss two similar lawsuits, one involving comedian Sarah Silverman and the other author Paul Tremblay. In a court filing, OpenAI said the allegations “misconstrue the scope of copyright, failing to consider limitations and exceptions (including fair use) that genuinely leave room for innovation.” such as large language models now at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence.”
Authors’ objections to AI led Amazon.com, the nation’s largest book retailer, to change its e-book policy. The online giant now requires writers who want to publish through its Kindle Direct program to notify Amazon in advance that they are including AI-generated material. Amazon also limits authors to three new self-published books on Kindle Direct per day, in an effort to limit the proliferation of texts about AI.