artificial intelligence

George R.R. Martin Among 17 Authors Suing Over ChatGPT

Illustration: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

Litigation is coming: Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is among 17 writers who have joined a proposed class-action lawsuit over ChatGPT. The full complaint from the New York–based Authors Guild accuses OpenAI’s program of “flagrant and harmful infringements of plaintiffs’ registered copyrights,” claiming that the program depends on “systematic theft on a mass scale.” The plaintiffs — including Martin, Jodi Picoult, John Grisham, George Saunders, and more — allege that ChatGPT was fed the text of books downloaded from pirate e-book repositories. “Defendants could have ‘trained’ their LLMs [large language models] on works in the public domain. They could have paid a reasonable licensing fee to use copyrighted works,” the lawsuit reads. “What Defendants could not do was evade the Copyright Act altogether to power their lucrative commercial endeavor, taking whatever datasets of relatively recent books they could get their hands on without authorization.”

“This case is merely the beginning of our battle to defend authors from theft by OpenAI and other generative AI,” Authors Guild president Maya Shanbhag Lang, who is part of the lawsuit, said in a statement to Variety. “Our staff, which includes a formidable legal team, has expertise in copyright law. This is all to say: We do not bring this suit lightly. We are here to fight.” A spokesperson for OpenAI, meanwhile, appeared to view the situation a little more hopefully — according to a statement to the AP, the company is having “productive conversations” with creators including the Authors Guild, and has “been working co-operatively to understand and discuss their concerns about AI. We’re optimistic we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together.”

On top of the Authors Guild lawsuit, OpenAI already faces two similar complaints from comedian Sarah Silverman and author Paul Tremblay. Perhaps ChatGPT is hard at work writing up a legal strategy?

George R.R. Martin Among 17 Authors Suing Over ChatGPT