Sarah Silverman sues OpenAI, Meta over copyright infringement

Comedian Sarah Silverman is joined by authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey in a legal battle against OpenAI and Meta challenging the use of copyrighted material to train AI models.

In two separate class action lawsuits filed in a San Francisco federal court, Silverman, Golden, and Kadrey accuse Meta and OpenAI of unlawfully using their books to train their AI models.

According to the lawsuits, Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Facebook parent Meta used the trio’s work to train their larger language models, ChatGPT and LaMMa, respectively, without getting their consent first.

“Shadow libraries” such as Bibliotik, Library Genesis, and Z-Library were used to build datasets needed to train AI models despite these platforms being “flagrantly illegal” in itself, the litigation said.

“The books and other materials aggregated by these websites have also been available in bulk via torrent systems,” it said.

Because of the large quantity of copyrighted material they host, these platforms “have long been of interest to the AI-training community,” it said.

The lawsuit against OpenAI cites examples of ChatGPT-generated summaries of the plaintiffs’ books as the basis for its claims. Meanwhile, the lawsuit against Meta says that leaked information about the company’s AI model shows unauthorized use of their work.

In addition to infringing on their copyright, the plaintiffs accuse OpenAI and Meta of unjust enrichment, unfair competition, and negligence. The lawsuits seek an unspecified amount of damages on behalf of a nationwide class action.

Meta said it had no comment at this time. Cybernews has also reached out to OpenAI.

The three plaintiffs are represented by lawyers Joseph Saveri and Matthew Butterick, who have previously filed a similar lawsuit against OpenAI on behalf of writers Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad.

They are also involved in lawsuits challenging GitHub Copilot, an AI coding assistant “built on unprecedented open-source software piracy,” and Sable Diffusion, an AI image generator accused of the “the heist of five bil­lion dig­i­tal images.”

In January, stock image platform Getty Images also filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Justice in London against Stable Diffusion developer Stability AI, claiming it unlawfully scraped millions of images from its site.

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