John Grisham, other authors sue OpenAI for “unlawfully training” ChatGPT

A trade group for US authors has sued OpenAI in Manhattan federal court on behalf of prominent writers, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Jodi Picault and Game of Thrones novelist George R R Martin, accusing the company of unlawfully training its popular artificial intelligence-based chatbot ChatGPT on their work. 

The proposed class-action lawsuit filed late on Tuesday by the Authors’ Guild joins several others from writers, source-code owners and visual artists against generative AI providers. In addition to Microsoft-backed OpenAI, similar lawsuits are pending against Meta Platforms and Stability AI over the data used to train their AI systems. 

Other authors involved in the latest lawsuit include The Lincoln Lawyer writer Michael Connelly and lawyer-novelists David Baldacci and Scott Turow. 

Representatives for OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. OpenAI and other AI defendants have said that their use of training data scraped from the internet qualifies as fair use under US copyright law. 

Authors’ Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger has said in a statement on Wednesday that authors “must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI” in order to “preserve our literature”. 

The Authors’ Guild’s lawsuit claims that the datasets used to train OpenAI’s large language model to respond to human prompts included text from the authors’ books that may have been taken from illegal online “pirate” book repositories. 

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