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Authors Call for Dismissal of Duplicate Lawsuits in OpenAI Copyright Infringement Case

Authors such as Michael Chabon, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Sarah Silverman, who are taking legal action against artificial intelligence (AI) firm OpenAI for copyright infringement, have urged a California court to dismiss similar lawsuits filed by The New York Times (NYT), John Grisham, and others in New York.

In a court filing on Thursday, 8th February, the authors contended that allowing these duplicate lawsuits—such as the NYT’s case and a prior one initiated by the Authors Guild on behalf of Grisham and others—in different jurisdictions would result in “inconsistent rulings in overlapping class actions” and constitute a misapplication of court resources.

Comedian and author Sarah Silverman, alongside two other writers, Richard Kadrey and Christopher Golden, lodged a lawsuit against OpenAI’s ChatGPT for copyright infringement in July 2023.

They claimed that when ChatGPT produces summaries of their work, it reveals training conducted with copyrighted content.

The Californian plaintiffs also alleged that the New York lawsuits facilitated OpenAI’s engagement in “forum shopping” and “procedural gamesmanship.”

The authors in California informed the court that the New York cases closely mirror their own, indicating that OpenAI seeks more favourable conditions in New York following the rejection of its proposed litigation schedule by the Californian court.

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Various groups of copyright holders, including writers, visual artists, and music publishers, have taken legal action against tech firms like Microsoft-backed OpenAI over purported misuse of their work in training generative AI systems.

OpenAI, Meta, and others argue that their AI training constitutes transformational use and falls within the fair use copyright doctrine.

Meta highlighted parallels to legal precedents, such as Google’s book copying for search, which was deemed fair use in Authors Guild vs. Google in 2015.

In September 2023, a New York-based professional organisation for published writers, spearheaded by the Authors Guild and featuring George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, George Saunders, and Jonathan Franzen, joined a proposed class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, citing alleged misuse of copyrighted material in its AI model training.

Subsequent complaints by the NYT drew upon both the U.S. Constitution and the Copyright Act to defend the original journalism of the newspaper.

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