Microsoft Fires Back at NY Times Over ChatGPT Lawsuit: Publication is Presenting False 'Doomsday Futorology'

By Quincy Cahilig

Mar 05, 2024 05:01 PM EST

Microsoft is pushing back against The New York Times' lawsuit targeting OpenAI, alleging that the claims made by the publisher are "unsubstantiated" and paint a misleading picture of the impact of ChatGPT on the news industry.

As OpenAI's largest investor, with about $13 billion invested, Microsoft filed a motion to dismiss part of the lawsuit on Monday. According to CNBC, Microsoft drew parallels to Hollywood's resistance to the VCR in the 1970s, suggesting that The New York Times is using its clout to challenge a groundbreaking technological advancement- the Large Language Model.

The legal dispute between OpenAI and the media industry centers on concerns that AI models like ChatGPT are being trained on valuable copyrighted content spanning decades. The Times' lawsuit accuses OpenAI and Microsoft of copyright infringement and misuse of intellectual property in training large language models (LLMs).

(Photo : Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 06, 2023 in San Francisco, California. 

Microsoft's legal team argues that the content used to train LLMs doesn't replace the market for original works; rather, it teaches the model language. They assert that The New York Times' narrative misrepresents "doomsday futurology." In its response, OpenAI previously sought to dismiss parts of the Times' lawsuit, claiming that the publisher paid someone to generate examples of copyright infringement by allegedly hacking OpenAI's products.

The complaint shows media organizations and AI developers clashing over copyrighted language model training material. Since ChatGPT's late 2022 introduction, OpenAI, worth over $80 billion, has thrived. The case is part of a discussion about how much copyrighted content AI models, essential for today's technology, use.

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Tech Giants Facing Multiple Lawsuits

Responding to similar concerns, OpenAI emphasized the necessity of using copyrighted materials for training leading AI models, stating that achieving the current state would be impossible without such content. OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, expressed surprise at The New York Times' legal action, asserting that the models don't require the publisher's data for training.

Beyond the current lawsuit, OpenAI and Microsoft are embroiled in multiple legal battles, per Engadget. Esteemed nonfiction writers and fiction authors, including Michael Chabon, George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, and Jodi Picoult, have accused the companies of appropriating their creative works for training OpenAI's LLMs. In a recent development, The Intercept, Raw Story, and AlterNet filed separate lawsuits, alleging that ChatGPT reproduces their content without proper attribution, presenting it "verbatim or nearly verbatim."

Microsoft Continues AI Expansion Amid Legal Woes

Meanwhile, Microsoft, having previously invested in OpenAI, is expanding its presence in the artificial intelligence sector. As reported by VC Post, the tech giant has announced a partnership with Mistral AI, a French startup known for its multilingual model comparable to ChatGPT 4, now available on Microsoft Azure.

Named Mistral Large, this model, similar to ChatGPT, can process multiple documents in a single call and is proficient in various languages. Ranked second globally, following GPT-4, Mistral Large has attracted Microsoft's attention, indicating the company's strong interest in the growing AI market.

Arthur Mensch, CEO of Mistral AI, expressed excitement about the partnership, stating that with Azure's advanced AI infrastructure, they are achieving a new milestone in their expansion, bringing innovative research and practical applications to new customers worldwide. Mistral AI believes that collaborating with Microsoft will enhance supercomputing infrastructure, further driving progress in the AI field. 

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