John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, and George R.R. Martin, along with 14 other authors, are suing OpenAI for what they claim is “systematic theft on a mass scale” of their copyrighted works by artificial intelligence programs.
In legal papers filed in a New York federal court, the authors accused OpenAI of “flagrant and harmful infringements” of their copyrights, labeling the ChatGPT program a “massive commercial enterprise” built on “systematic theft on a mass scale.” The Authors Guild organized the lawsuit, which includes authors such as David Baldacci, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, and Elin Hilderbrand.
Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger emphasized the importance of stopping this theft to preserve the literary culture, stating, “Great books are generally written by those who spend their careers and, indeed, their lives, learning and perfecting their crafts. To preserve our literature, authors must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI.”
The lawsuit provides examples of specific ChatGPT searches for each author, including one for George R.R. Martin, alleging that the program generated an “infringing, unauthorized, and detailed outline for a prequel” to “A Game of Thrones” titled “A Dawn of Direwolves,” using characters from Martin’s existing books.
OpenAI responded, stating they respect the rights of writers and authors and are engaged in productive conversations with creators to address their concerns about AI technology. OpenAI has faced previous lawsuits from authors over alleged copyright infringement and has argued that copyright laws allow room for innovations like large language models.
Author objections to AI have led to changes in Amazon’s e-book policies, requiring writers to notify the company in advance if they are including AI-generated material and limiting the number of self-published books authors can release through Kindle Direct.