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Comedian Sarah Silverman Sues OpenAI And Meta Platforms Over Copyright Infringement

Silverman alleges that ChatGPT and Meta's LLaMA stole information from her book 'The Bedwetter'.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is no laughing matter, according to comedian Sarah Silverman. 

Silverman is among a trio of authors suing the open-source artificial intelligence (AI) platform, as well as Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META), in a U.S. District Court over claims of copyright infringement.

Justine Bateman and Sarah Silverman are seen at a Writers Guild of America strike on June 12, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. (Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)

ChatGPT and Meta’s LLaMA allegedly stole information from the book “The Bedwetter,” which Silverman released in 2010.

“The books aggregated by these websites have also been available in bulk via torrent systems,” one suit claims, citing Bibliotik, Library Genesis and Z-Library.

“These flagrantly illegal shadow libraries have long been of interest to the AI-training community,” one suit states, adding that ChatGPT can produce a derivative version of an author’s book, despite it being copyrighted material.

“If a user prompts ChatGPT to summarize a copyrighted book, it will do so” without author permission, the suit claims.

Silverman isn’t the only author taking issue with OpenAI.

Authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey are also alleging copyright infringement.

The lawsuit comes amid mounting scrutiny — from business leaders, policymakers, writers and even actors — over the ever-advancing technology that’s at the heart of AI.

In the lawsuit against Meta, the allegations brought from the plaintiffs that the company’s AI business showed their work without their permission.

AI platforms are receiving huge amounts of financial backing. OpenAI, for example, enjoyed a $13 billion investment from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT). This gave the company a massive advantage in the development of complex models.

“The lawsuit demonstrates the potential legal consequences developers may face when utilizing a vast range of copyrighted material to create AI capable of delivering responses to user requests,” said Katie Charleston, founder and partner at Katie Charleston Law. “Such conduct exposes developers to significant legal risks and creators to infringement of their protected works. Severe penalties for the infringers are a definite possibility.”

Last month, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman commented that the startup’s algorithm learns with “no tricks” and that he is aware of potential risks associated with exponential advancements in AI. Current AI systems, like GPT-4, pose no existential risk, Altman insists.

“It’s totally cool that ChatGPT can write that poem,” he said, while touting a “future system” that can cure disease, address climate change and improve education.

This is the first high profile case of copyright infringement brought against OpenAI while Meta Platforms is expected to face scrutiny over the issue.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount from Meta and OpenAI as copyright owners will soon follow.

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond

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