Microsoft calls NYT copyright claims ‘doomsday futurology’ – also, VCRs are legal too

Microsoft is coming out swinging over claims by the New York Times that the Windows giant and OpenAI infringed copyright by using its articles to build ChatGPT and other models.

In yesterday’s filing [PDF], Microsoft’s lawyers recall the early 1980s efforts of the Motion Picture Association to stifle the growth of VCR technology, likening it to the legal efforts of the New York Times (NYT) to stop OpenAI in their work on the “latest profound technological advance.”

The motion describes the NYT’s allegations that the use of GPT-based products “harms The Times,” and “poses a mortal threat to independent journalism” as “doomsday futurology.”


Microsoft’s response doesn’t appear to suggest that content has not been lifted. Instead, it says: “Despite The Times’s contentions, copyright law is no more an obstacle to the LLM than it was to the VCR (or the player piano, copy machine, personal computer, internet, or search engine.)”


In its demands for the dismissal of the three claims in particular, the motion points out that Microsoft shouldn’t be held liable for end-user copyright infringement through GPT-based tools. It also says that to get the NYT content regurgitated, a user would need to know the “genesis of that content.”

“And in any event, the outputs the Complaint cites are not copies of works at all, but mere snippets.”

Finally, the filing delves into the murky world of “fair use,” the American copyright law, which is relatively permissive in the US compared to other legal jurisdictions.

OpenAI hit back at the NYT last month and accused the company of paying someone to “hack” ChatGPT in order to persuade it to spit out those irritatingly verbatim copies of NYT content.


Source: Microsoft calls NYT copyright claims ‘doomsday futurology’ • The Register

For more illustrations about how much nonsense the New York Times suit is, have a look here

Robin Edgar

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