The New York Times is considering a lawsuit against OpenAI as talks over intellectual property rights between the newspaper and the Silicon Valley unicorn are reportedly on the verge of breaking down.
The Times and the ChatGPT maker have been engaged in talks over the past several weeks on a possible licensing deal that would see the tech firm pay the Gray Lady for the right to incorporate content from the newspaper’s stories into the AI-powered bot, according to National Public Radio.
But the contentious negotiations have prompted lawyers for the “newspaper of record” to explore a potential lawsuit against OpenAI, the Microsoft-backed company that has raised a total of $11.3 billion in venture capital since its founding in 2015, NPR reported.
The Times is said to be worried that ChatGPT is competing with its reporters by offering answers that essentially plagiarize their stories, according to NPR.
The fear is that ChatGPT users who obtain information about a newsworthy topic through the chatbot would be less inclined to click into a story by a news entity such as the Times or any other publisher.
The Post has sought comment from the Times and OpenAI.
ChatGPT and other large language models have mined the internet for copious amounts of information so as to provide content that is produced by the bot whenever a user asks a question.
This has prompted media mogul Barry Diller to attempt to cobble together a coalition of publishing conglomerates in order to take on tech giants like Google and Microsoft.
Diller, chairman of Dotdash Meredith’s parent company IAC, told the news site Semafor earlier this year that media companies should sue tech firms that train AI models to incorporate content from news organizations.
The Times was reportedly recruited by Diller to help form a united front, but the Gray Lady apparently decided to strike out on its own and attempt to negotiate a separate deal with Silicon Valley to protect its intellectual property, according to Semafor.
In recent weeks, Times executives have hinted that their company would demand compensation for content used to train generative AI-powered bots.
“There must be fair value exchange for the content that’s already been used, and the content that will continue to be used to train models,” New York Times Company CEO Meredith Kopit Levien told an audience at the Cannes Lions Festival in June.
Among the firms that discussed joining the coalition were The Post’s parent company, News Corp; Vox Media; Condé Nast parent, Advance; and Politico’s parent, Axel Springer, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last month, the Associated Press struck a deal with OpenAI that allowed the ChatGPT maker access to news content and technology for a period of two years.
News Corp CEO Robert Thomson recently warned of the dangers posed by AI to the news industry, saying that it could “fatally undermine” journalism.
“Firstly, our content is being harvested and scraped and otherwise ingested to train AI engines,” Thomson said.
“Secondly, individual stories will be surfaced in specific searches. And, thirdly, our content will be synthesized and presented as distinct when it is actually an extracting of editorial essence.”