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A Battle of Thrones in the Realm of Copyright


December 13, 2023

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ChatGPT has composed a detailed outline for a prequel to Game of Thrones, titled “A Dawn of Direwolves”, which employs the same characters from George R.R. Martin’s existing books in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire”. The author is among 16 others reportedly suing the software’s owner, OpenAI, for “systematic theft on a mass scale”.


The class action lawsuit was organized by the Authors Guild and includes several prominent writers, such as Jodi Picoult and George Saunders. As reported by AP News, the authors allege that the training of the AI software has resulted in “flagrant and harmful infringements” of their registered copyrights. In particular, they claim that ChatGPT was fed text downloaded from pirate e-book repositories and failed to adequately compensate them for their work. OpenAI “could have ‘trained’ their LLMs [large language models] on works in the public domain” and “could have paid a reasonable licensing fee to use copyrighted works”, but did not.


CEO of the Authors Guild, Mary Rasenberger, reportedly warned against this type of “theft” and the impact it may have on our literary culture. “[A]uthors must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI” she reportedly said. The lawsuit calls for (i) an injunction prohibiting OpenAI from continuing to use the authors’ works; and (ii) in the alternative to actual damages and profits, statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each infringed work.


OpenAI reportedly commented that they are “optimistic that [they] will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together to help people utilize new technology in a rich content ecosystem”.

 

Authors: Emily Groper and Kasia Donovan

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