The owner of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is being sued by the author of Game of Thrones.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO's Game of ThronesHBO

George RR Martin and John Grisham, both American authors, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, alleging that their copyright was violated during the training of the system.

Martin gained fame for his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, which was transformed into the popular HBO series Game of Thrones.

ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) “learn” by analysing a massive amount of data often sourced online.

The lawsuit alleges that ChatGPT was enhanced using the authors’ books without obtaining their consent.

OpenAI expressed its respect for authors’ rights and emphasized the importance of ensuring they receive benefits from AI technology.

The complaint also mentions other well-known authors such as Jonathan Franzen, Jodi Picoult, and George Saunders.

The Authors Guild, a US trade group representing the named authors, has taken the case to the federal court in Manhattan, New York.

The filing alleged that OpenAI was involved in “widespread and organized theft”.

Comedian Sarah Silverman initiated a comparable legal proceeding in July, while authors Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman signed an open letter during the same month, urging AI companies to provide compensation for utilizing their work.

OpenAI’s representative stated that they are engaged in fruitful discussions with numerous creators globally, including the Authors Guild. They have been collaborating harmoniously to comprehend and address their apprehensions regarding AI.

“We have a positive outlook and believe that we will keep discovering ways to collaborate that are advantageous for both parties.”

AI ‘displacing humans’

The argument presented in the case is that the LLM utilized data from copyrighted books without obtaining authorization from the authors. This is supported by the fact that the LLM was capable of generating precise summaries of these books.

The lawsuit also highlighted a wider concern within the media sector – that this type of technology is causing a displacement of content created by humans.

Patrick Goold, reader in law at City University, told BBC News that while he could sympathise with the authors behind the lawsuit, he believed it was unlikely it would succeed, saying they would initially need to prove ChatGPT had copied and duplicated their work.

“I cannot reword”

“When discussing the automation of AI and the substitution of human labor, copyright should not be the solution.”

“We should actively engage with Parliament and Congress to discuss the potential impact of AI on the creative arts and devise strategies to address this in the future.”

This situation is the most recent among many complaints filed against developers of generative AI, which refers to artificial intelligence capable of generating media using text prompts.

In January, digital artists filed a lawsuit against Stability AI and Midjourney, alleging that these text-to-image generators can only operate by utilizing copyrighted artwork.

OpenAI, Microsoft, and programming site GitHub are currently being sued by a group of computing experts. The experts claim that their code was utilized without authorization to train an AI named Copilot.

All of these lawsuits are still pending and have not been settled yet.

Related Topics

  • Copyright
  • Game of Thrones
  • Artificial intelligence