The New York Times filed suit against OpenAI and Microsoft this morning alleging use of millions of articles from The Times to train advanced chatbots, such as ChatGPT, which the Times argues competes unfairly with its own content.

The parties had been in negotiations on an agreement for some time, with The Times threatening to sue, months ago.

The Times seeks billions in damages and a call for the destruction of AI models trained with its copyrighted material. More than compensatory damages, the case is a litmus test for the ethical and legal frameworks of AI’s rapidly integrating role in content creation and distribution.

Beyond media alone, AI’s use stretches to existing human-created content.

The case is a reminder though that we’re in the very early days of AI scraping content, days that mirror Google’s use of content and the concept of Fair Use which has enabled broad use of other’s content.

After some time, a settlement appears very likely.

The Times, believing a settlement was in its interests, thought it had a settlement with Microsoft and OpenAI in August.

There is also way too much money involved for OpenAI/Microsoft to let any negative precedent play out.

Reminds me a bit, though on a smaller scale, of Google’s buying YouTube, which was being sued by video producers at the time. Google, which was playing with video, couldn’t afford a bad precedent in letting that case play out.