“Game of Thrones” author George RR Martin joins his colleagues John Grisham and Jonathan Franzen in one Class action lawsuit against OpenAI at. The members of the “Author’s Guild” accuse the company of violating the authors’ copyright and committing “mass theft” against their intellectual property by training their artificial intelligence (AI). Furthermore, the source of their income is jeopardized.
A total of 17 authors are involved in the lawsuit: Martin, Grisham, Franzen as well as David Baldacci, Mary Bly, Michael Connelly, Sylvia Day, Elin Hilderbrand, Christina Baker Kline, Maya Shanbhag Lang, Victor LaValle, Jodi Picoult, Douglas Preston, Roxana Robinson, George Saunders, Scott Turow and Rachel Vail.
“The plaintiffs represent a group of professional writers whose works arise from their own spirit and creative literary expression,” the letter states. “The livelihood of these authors is secured by the works they create. But the [Large Language Models] “The defendants endanger writers’ ability to earn a living because the LLMs allow anyone to automatically and freely (or very cheaply) generate texts that they would otherwise have to pay writers to create.”
LLMs are deep learning algorithms used by AI programs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to learn from a massive data set, recognize, translate, predict or generate text or content. To do this, the AI is given a large amount of text, which it processes through unsupervised learning (i.e. without further human input) to understand the meaning of words, the relationship between them and their context. The program bases its answers to the various prompts on this.
The lawsuit further states that third parties can use these programs to produce “other editions that are derived from the authors’ copyrighted works” in order to generate revenue. The writers are demanding compensation for the money they lose through the commercial use of AI.
This is not the first lawsuit against OpenAI for copyright infringement. In July 2023, author Sarah Silverman filed a lawsuit against both OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Meta’s LLaMA. Silverman’s concern is that the artificial intelligences are using works that are available online through “shadow libraries” instead of legally acquiring licenses for the books. Like the Authors Guild class action lawsuit, Silverman argues that OpenAI infringes her copyright because ChatGPT is able to aggregate her work.