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OpenAI says New York Times ‘hacked’ ChatGPT to build copyright lawsuit

ChatGPT and The New York Times logos are seen in this illustration taken Dec. 27, 2023. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)
By Blake Brittain | REUTERS

OpenAI has asked a federal judge to dismiss parts of the New York Times copyright lawsuit against it, arguing that the newspaper “hacked” its chatbot ChatGPT and other artificial-intelligence systems to generate misleading evidence for the case.

OpenAI said in a filing in Manhattan federal court on Monday that the Times caused the technology to reproduce its material through “deceptive prompts that blatantly violate OpenAI’s terms of use.”

“The allegations in the Times’s complaint do not meet its famously rigorous journalistic standards,” OpenAI said. “The truth, which will come out in the course of this case, is that the Times paid someone to hack OpenAI’s products.”

Representatives for the New York Times and OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the filing.

The Times sued OpenAI and its largest financial backer Microsoft in December, accusing them of using millions of its articles without permission to train chatbots to provide information to users.

The Times is among several copyright owners that have sued tech companies over the alleged misuse of their work in AI training, including groups of authors, visual artists and music publishers.

Tech companies have said that their AI systems make fair use of copyrighted material and that the lawsuits threaten the growth of the potential multitrillion-dollar industry.

The complaint accused OpenAI and Microsoft of trying to “free-ride on the Times’s massive investment in its journalism” and create a substitute for the newspaper. It cited several instances in which OpenAI and Microsoft chatbots gave users near-verbatim excerpts of its articles when prompted.

OpenAI said in its filing that it took the Times “tens of thousands of attempts to generate the highly anomalous results.”

“In the ordinary course, one cannot use ChatGPT to serve up Times articles at will,” OpenAI said.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Editing by David Bario and Bill Berkrot

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