This could be another hit for AI – prominent newspapers are suing for copyright infringement

May 8 – Alden Global Capital, the company that owns eight major US newspapers, is suing OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. 

The suit was filed in New York and it claims the artificial intelligence companies are unlawfully using published articles to train AI models. Information from the articles, including reporters’ names and titles were allegedly removed when used to answer questions generated by AI. 

The eight newspapers represented include the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun Sentinel, San Jose Mercury News, Denver Post, Orange County Register and St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “This is good news because, frankly, I feel the work that we’re doing on the radio station and the work in the newsroom, we’re finding the Judge Mann’s office, and we’re writing stories and we’re placing these things, and I can’t help but think that somehow there’s a bot out there that’s ripping our work off and rearranging a couple of words and all of a sudden, it’s on some other feed. In fact, I’ve talked to a couple of other local folks that are seeing the same thing here.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll agreed, “I think there’s merit to these lawsuits. These are big newspapers. What they’re saying is when they publish their stories, they own the intellectual property for those stories, the copyright to those stories and these AI platforms, they’re synthesizing all of this data and then pushing it back out onto other platforms, which seems to me like classic copyright infringement. These newspapers, the reporters that originally generated the content, they’re not getting any income, or revenue back for AI repackaging their content and pushing it out. I think a lot of media will be watching this very closely.”

Ryan said, “I don’t know how the industry comes together on this one, but we’ve done the work and now this thing is taken over and I don’t know how you control it. Certainly the lawmakers in Washington have clearly dropped the ball. I don’t know what these guys do. You want to talk about return on investment, you’ve never gotten that out of any of these guys here. I’m getting screwed out here by busting our chops and then it’s copyrighted. But we’ll change up a couple of words and all of a sudden you’ve got a story? I don’t think so.”

Barkdoll said, “This did come up last year. Remember with Facebook, there were media outlets that said they were no longer going to allow their content to be put on Facebook news feeds and as I recall, Facebook reached a settlement with those companies. I think Facebook is now paying some fees for certain newspaper content that they’re putting on their Facebook newsfeed. It goes back to we’ve talked about the Tik Tok ban and just social media proliferation in general. Remember all of these polls and studies show a huge segment particularly of our young population, they exclusively get their news and information from things like TikTok and Facebook and Instagram. So it’s very valuable space if you have news that’s being distributed on those platforms.”