**Sarah Silverman and Bestselling Authors Sue Meta and OpenAI for Copyright Infringement**
Comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, along with bestselling novelists Richard Kadrey and Christopher Golden, have filed a class-action lawsuit against Meta and OpenAI. The lawsuit alleges that the tech companies have used the authors’ copyrighted books without permission or compensation to train their AI software programs. The authors are seeking damages just under $1 billion each.
The lawsuit comes after authors Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay filed similar copyright infringement suits against OpenAI. These lawsuits are part of a larger movement led by attorneys Joseph Saveri and Matthew Butterick, who have also initiated legal action against AI art tool Stable Diffusion and Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot.
Meta and OpenAI have not yet responded to the allegations.
**The Use of AI Software in Literature**
AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT are designed to consume and analyze large amounts of text. These models train themselves to generate natural, human-like responses to prompts or questions from users. They can write code, fan fiction, job applications, and aid with school assignments. On the other hand, Meta’s AI language model, LLaMA, is primarily a research tool for those in the AI field and not a question-and-answer system.
However, the lawsuit raises concerns about the sources of data used to train these models. Some data comes from legal sources like Project Gutenberg, a collection of e-books with expired copyrights. However, other data comes from shadow libraries, which contain e-books without copyright permission. The lawsuit accuses Meta and OpenAI of using data from shadow libraries, which the authors argue is “flagrantly illegal.”
**Evidence of Copyright Infringement**
To support their claims, the authors provide evidence of AI software accurately summarizing their books. Conversations with ChatGPT demonstrate its ability to summarize Silverman’s “The Bedwetter,” Kadrey’s “Sandman Slim” series, and Golden’s supernatural thriller “Ararat.” The lawsuit also references a statement from the person who gathered the data for LLaMa, confirming the inclusion of a well-known shadow library called “Bibliotik.”
**Concerns and Potential Consequences**
The lawsuit alleges that OpenAI has utilized copyrighted books to profit from them, while Meta plans to release a commercial version of LLaMa in the future. Supporters of LLaMa see potential for improved AI safety, but critics worry about the generation of harmful content, including spam, cheating in schools, and misinformation.
Similar concerns about generative AI have arisen in other industries, such as music, banking, and film. In Hollywood, the fear of production studios using AI to replace writers and actors is a significant concern amidst ongoing strikes led by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.
It is crucial for technology companies to respect copyright laws and provide appropriate credit and compensation to authors whose works are used to train AI models. This case highlights the potential legal issues that arise when copyrighted books are utilized without permission, posing challenges for both the publishing industry and the AI field.
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