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Chicago Tribune, other major newspapers accuse artificial intelligence companies of stealing content

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A group of major newspaper publishers, including the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News, are accusing two of the biggest artificial intelligence companies of stealing their content to improve their products.

That accusation comes in a civil lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in New York.

The lawsuit targets two of the biggest generative AI platforms in the world, Open AI, the creators of ChatGPT, and Microsoft's Copilot AI program.

What is AI's threat to local news? 

The plaintiffs argue that the development of the internet and the theft of their content is the biggest threat to local news.

The suit claims Open AI and Microsoft pay for computers, technical infrastructure, programmers, and other tech workers but not for the newspapers' information used to train their models to generate the content they create.

"Despite admitting that they need copyrighted content to produce a commercially viable GenAI product, the defendants contend they can fuel the creation and operation of these products with the Publishers' content without permission or paying for the privilege.

"They are wrong on both counts."

Examples of AI allegedly stealing content

The lawsuit cited several examples of ChatGPT and Copilot returning verbatim articles from the Chicago Tribune and other publications in response to a user's question on the platform.

The newspaper publishers want the companies to compensate them for "their unlawful use of protected newspaper content to date."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified statutory damages, compensatory damages, and restitution.

Artificial intelligence has been touted for various uses, from helping fight wildfires to filling a shortage of mental health professionals.

However, it also has been known to serve up wildly inaccurate information about elections.

The Associated Press reported that Microsoft declined to comment Tuesday. OpenAI didn't immediately respond to a request for comment to the AP.

In addition to the Tribune and Daily News, the other publishers named as plaintiffs are The Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, San Jose Mercury-News, DP Media Network, ORB Publishing, and Northwest Publications.

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