- By Tom Gerken & Liv McMahon
- Technology reporters
Martin is known for his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into HBO show Game of Thrones.
ChatGPT and other large language models (LLMs) “learn” by analysing a massive amount of data often sourced online.
Other prominent authors named in the complaint include Jonathan Franzen, Jodi Picoult and George Saunders.
The case has been brought to the federal court in Manhattan, New York, by the Authors Guild, a trade group in the US working on behalf of the named authors.
According to the filing, it accused OpenAI of engaging in “systematic theft on a mass scale”.
A spokesperson for OpenAI said: “We’re having productive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, and have been working co-operatively to understand and discuss their concerns about AI.
“We’re optimistic we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together.”
AI ‘displacing humans’
The case argues that the LLM was fed data from copyrighted books without the permission of the authors, in part because it was able to provide accurate summaries of them.
Patrick Goold, reader in law at City University, told BBC News that while he could sympathise with the authors behind the lawsuit, he believed it was unlikely it would succeed, saying they would initially need to prove ChatGPT had copied and duplicated their work.
“What we need to be doing is going to Parliament and Congress and talking about how AI is going to displace the creative arts and what we need to do about that in the future.”
The case is the latest in a long line of complaints brought against developers of so-called generative AI – that is, artificial intelligence that can create media based on text prompts – over this concern.
And OpenAI is also facing a lawsuit, alongside Microsoft and programming site GitHub, from a group of computing experts who argue their code was used without their permission to train an AI called Copilot.
None of these lawsuits has yet been resolved.