New York Times To Sue OpenAI & Microsoft; Sports Illustrated Sacks Senior Staff Over Use Of AI

The newspaper and magazine industry is gearing up for a battle over the use of AI in information harvesting and the use of artificial intelligence to create fake articles, fake writer profiles and photos.

The New York Times is to sue  OpenAI and Microsoft accusing them of using millions of the newspaper’s articles without permission to help train chatbots to provide information to readers.

The New York Times said it is the first major U.S. media organisation to sue OpenAI, creator of the artificial-intelligence platform ChatGPT, and Microsoft, an OpenAI investor and creator of the AI platform now known as Copilot, over copyright issues associated with its works.

Writers and others have also sued to limit the automatic collection of data by AI services of their online content without compensation.

The newspaper’s complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, accused OpenAI and Microsoft of trying to “free-ride on The Times’s massive investment in its journalism” by using it to provide alternative means to deliver information to readers. “There is nothing ‘transformative’ about using The Times’s content without payment to create products that substitute for The Times and steal audiences away from it,” the Times said.

OpenAI and Microsoft have said that using copyrighted works to train AI products amounts to “fair use,” a legal doctrine governing the unlicensed use of copyrighted material. On its website, the U.S. Copyright Office says “transformative” uses add “something new, with a further purpose or character” and are “more likely to be considered fair.”

The New York Times is not seeking a specific amount of damages, but estimated damages in the “billions of dollars.” It also wants OpenAI and Microsoft to destroy chatbot models and training sets that incorporate its material.

Meanwhile the prestigious U.S. magazine Sports Illustrated recently sacked its CEO Ross Levinsohn for using Artificial Intelligence to produce articles and  headshot photos generated by AI.

The company also fired its chief operating officer, media president and corporate counsel after revelations  that the magazine had published articles by non-existent authors with AI generated biographies and headshots.

The magazine’s publisher Arena Group said the removal of Levinsohn had been decided after a meeting on actions to “improve the operational efficiency and the revenue of the company”.

The AI articles were unveiled by an online magazine Futurism, which discovered that articles supposedly written by ‘Sora Tanaka’, a fitness guru was found to be fictitious. Similarly, an article about volleyball by ‘Drew Ortiz’  who Futurism says has no social media presence, no publishing history and who’s profile photo on Sports Illustrated was for sale on a website that sells AI-generated headshots, where he’s described as “neutral white young-adult male with short brown hair and blue eyes.”

Arena denied the allegations, stating the content was from AdVon Commerce, an advertiser, which used ‘pen names’. The group has now severed ties with AdVon.

Levinsohn was replaced by Manoj Bhargava as interim chief executive. Bhargava is the founder of the energy drink ‘5-hour Energy’ who outlawed his staff using Powerpoint presentations telling them to “stop doing dumb stuff” and said the “amount of useless stuff you guys do is staggering”.

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