George R. R. Martin is among a group of prominent authors including John Grisham and Jonathan Franzen who have filed a lawsuit against the artificial intelligence company OpenAI for copyright infringement.
The Authors Guild and a total of 17 well-known authors filed the lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Wednesday. According to the complaint, OpenAI has “copied plaintiffs’ works wholesale, without permission or consideration” and fed the copyrighted material into large language models (or LLMS), which are “algorithms designed to output human-seeming text responses to users’ prompts and queries.”
“The Defendant’s LLMs endanger fiction writers’ ability to make a living in that the LLMs allow anyone to generate — automatically and freely (or very cheaply) — text that they would otherwise pay writers to create,” the lawsuit said. The authors believe that OpenAI can create derivative works “that is based on, mimics, summarizes, or paraphrases” their work and “harms the market for them.”
In a statement, Franzen added, “Generative AI is a vast new field for Silicon Valley’s longstanding exploitation of content providers. Authors should have the right to decide when their works are used to ‘train’ AI. If they choose to opt in, they should be appropriately compensated.”
Other authors in the case include Michael Connelly, Jodi Picoult, David Baldacci, Mary Bly, Sylvia Day, Elin Hilderbrand, Christina Baker Kline, Maya Shanbhag Lang, Victor LaValle, Douglas Preston, Roxana Robinson, George Saunders, Scott Turow, and Rachel Vail.
The plaintiffs hope to get their filing classified as a class action along with a permanent injunction prohibiting their works from being used in the large language models without authorization, damages for “the lost opportunity to license their works,” or alternatively, statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringed work.
This is just the latest lawsuit against OpenAI from well-known authors. In July, comedian Sarah Silverman and authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey filed a complaint against OpenAI and Meta for copyright infringement, while The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay writer Michael Chabon led a group of authors bringing legal action against OpenAI earlier this month.