Center for Investigative Reporting, publisher of Mother Jones and Reveal, sues OpenAI, Microsoft for using copyrighted journalism

The lawsuit alleges the AI developers infringed copyright and violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by training ChatGPT and Copilot on copyrighted content and using it to provide infringing chat responses. These lawsuits add to the onslaught of litigation against OpenAI for its illegal and exploitative use of copyrighted journalistic content without permission or offering compensation.  

Today, the law firm Loevy + Loevy filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on behalf of the Center for Investigative Reporting, which produces Mother Jones and Reveal, against OpenAI and its largest shareholder, Microsoft, for copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

According to research organization Copyleaks, nearly 60% of GPT-3.5 responses contained plagiarized content. The lawsuit alleges that OpenAI and Microsoft violated the Copyright Act and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act by removing copyright management information from CIR’s works in their training sets, and by providing chat outputs that summarize those works or even regurgitate them completely.

“Developers like OpenAI have garnered billions in investment and revenue because of AI products fundamentally created with and trained on copyright-protected material,” said Loevy + Loevy partner Matt Topic, who represents the news organizations in the suits.  “Publishers are rightfully concerned about AI summaries damaging the market for their journalism, and we intend for this lawsuit to stop this latest example of ‘move fast and break things’ tech companies doing what they want without regard for the rights to others and without compensation.”

“We are proud to represent the Center for Investigative Reporting, and we hope that more news organizations take legal action against unauthorized use of journalistic content by the AI industry,” said Loevy + Loevy founder Jon Loevy.  “The actions committed by OpenAI are illegal and unauthorized.”

The plaintiff in the suit is the Center for Investigative Reporting, which runs Mother Jones and Reveal. These news organizations have generated copyrighted content for nearly five decades.

“OpenAI and Microsoft started vacuuming up our stories to make their product more powerful, but they never asked for permission or offered compensation, unlike other organizations that license our material,” said Monika Bauerlein, CEO of the Center for Investigative Reporting. “This free rider behavior is not only unfair, it is a violation of copyright. The work of journalists, at CIR and everywhere, is valuable, and OpenAI and Microsoft know it.”

A copy of the complaint is available here: The Center for Investigative Reporting, Inc. v. Open, AI, Inc., Microsoft Corp., et al., Case No. 24-cv-04872 (SDNY) with exhibits for download here.

Loevy + Loevy is a national public-interest trial boutique that challenges injustices by the government and big business. Loevy + Loevy has a long history of representing news organizations and other intellectual property owners.  More information about Loevy + Loevy can be found here:

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