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Microsoft Defends Use of News Content in AI Training Against NYT’s Copyright Claims

Microsoft defends AI training using NYT content, citing fair use and comparing it to historical tech advancements.


In a significant development in the ongoing discussion around copyright and artificial intelligence, has officially responded to allegations made by The New York Times (NYT). The newspaper had accused Microsoft and of copyright infringement for utilizing its articles in the training of Large Language Models (LLMs), specifically ChatGPT. Microsoft's lawyers have drawn a parallel with historical technological disputes, arguing that their use of copyrighted content does not impede the original market of the content owners, similar to past examples like the VCR in the 1980s.

The Argument Over Content Use and Fair Use

Microsoft's stance – shown in a filing this week – is firmly rooted in the concept that incorporating NYT's content in AI training sets does not substitute the demand for the original works. Instead, it promotes a new form of technological advancement reminiscent of past innovations such as the personal computer and the internet, which also faced copyright concerns. The company's filing criticizes the methods employed by the NYT to prove its case, stating that the instances of content reproduction cited by NYT were the result of unrealistic prompts designed to elicit specific responses from GPT-tools, not reflective of typical user interaction.

OpenAI has also recently responded to the lawsuit. OpenAI suggests that The New York Times might have manipulated prompts to produce these regurgitations, citing their rarity and the selective nature of the examples put forward by the publication. Moreover, OpenAI asserts that the content in question is outdated and has been widely disseminated across various platforms on the internet.

The Ongoing Debate on AI and Copyright Laws

This legal battle is part of a broader conversation on the intersection of copyright law and the burgeoning field of AI. OpenAI, too, has rebutted the accusations by alleging that the NYT hired someone to manipulate into reproducing its content, a claim that NYT's lead counsel Ian Crosby refutes, arguing that finding evidence of content misuse should not be labeled as hacking. This confrontation raises critical questions on the fair use doctrine and whether current are equipped to handle the rapid advancements in AI and machine learning. Microsoft has called for the dismissal of specific claims made against it, emphasizing that the AI's outputs are not verbatim copies but rather “mere snippets” of copyrighted material.

As the legal skirmishes between large tech companies and continue, the outcome of this case could set a significant precedent for how copyrighted material is used in the training and development of AI technologies. Both sides of the argument are waiting for further legal clarifications, and updates will be provided as the situation evolves.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.