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The New York Times Has an Edge in Suit Against OpenAI

Author: Noah Feldman Source: N.Y Times
December 28, 2023 at 22:44
Just trying to stay alive.Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images/Getty Images
Just trying to stay alive.Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images/Getty Images

To offer useful information, ChatGPT and other large language models need humans to report, vet and publish new facts. Who is going to pay for that?

Noah Feldman is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. A professor of law at Harvard University, he is author, most recently, of “The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery and the Refounding of America.

”The lawsuit filed by the New York Times against OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement pits one of the great establishment media institutions against the purveyor of a transformative new technology. Symbolically, the case promises a clash of the titans: labor-intensive human newsgathering against pushbutton information produced by artificial intelligence. But legally, the case represents something different: a classic instance of the lag between established law and emerging technology.

Copyright law, a set of rules that date back to the printing press, was not designed to cover large language models like ChatGPT. It will have to be consciously evolved by the courts — or amended by Congress — to fit our current circumstances.

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