Microsoft Pushes Back Against New York Times’ Claims in OpenAI Lawsuit

Executive Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation Satya Nadella attends a session during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 16, 2024.

Denis Balibouse | Reuters

Microsoft is accusing The New York Times of “unsubstantiated” claims in the publisher’s lawsuit filed in December against OpenAI, a case that could have major implications for the future of generative artificial intelligence.

In a motion to dismiss part of the suit on Monday, Microsoft said the Times presented a false narrative of “doomsday futurology” in which OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot will decimate the news business. In the opening line of its argument to the court, Microsoft compares the lawsuit to Hollywood’s resistance to the VCR, which was created in the 1970s and allowed users to record television programs.

“In this case, The New York Times uses its might and its megaphone to challenge the latest profound technological advance: the Large Language Model,” attorneys for Microsoft wrote. Microsoft is OpenAI’s largest investor, having pumped about $13 billion into the startup.

The filing marks the latest salvo in the battle between OpenAI and the media industry, which is increasingly concerned that AI models are being trained on valuable content that has been produced over many decades. In its lawsuit, the Times accused OpenAI and Microsoft of copyright infringement and abusing the newspaper’s intellectual property in training LLMs.

OpenAI previously asked a judge to dismiss parts of the Times’ lawsuit against it, alleging that the publisher “paid someone to hack OpenAI’s products,” such as ChatGPT, to generate 100 examples of copyright infringement for its case. OpenAI claimed it took the Times “tens of thousands of attempts to generate the highly anomalous results,” and that the company did so using “deceptive prompts that blatantly violate OpenAI’s terms of use.”

In the latest filing, Microsoft’s lawyers argue that “content used to train LLMs does not supplant the market for the works, it teaches the models language.”

A Times spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.


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