The New York Times Sues Microsoft and OpenAI


The New York Times (NYT) has filed a lawsuit against tech giants Microsoft and OpenAI, alleging the unauthorized use of millions of NYT articles to train artificial intelligence systems such as ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot. The lawsuit raises critical questions around copyright, AI ethics and the relationship between Big Tech and the media.

The lawsuit, filed in late December 2022 in Federal District Court in Manhattan, accuses Microsoft and OpenAI of massive copyright infringement. NYT alleges that the two tech companies scraped millions of NYT articles without permission to train AI models, allowing them to unfairly take advantage of NYT’s high-quality journalism and effectively steal its content.

NYT is seeking billions in damages

While NYT does not specify an exact amount, it indicates that it will pursue statutory and actual damages that will likely amount to billions of dollars. The newspaper also wants Microsoft and OpenAI to destroy all AI models trained using NYT content.

If the lawsuit were successful, it could deliver a serious financial and operational blow to both tech giants. OpenAI is currently valued at over $80 billion, after Microsoft invested $13 billion.

AI ethics and copyright back in the spotlight

The lawsuit is a replay of broader debates over AI ethics and copyright. AI systems like ChatGPT can mimic NYT’s writing style by ingesting large amounts of articles and generating new content. This allows the tech companies to benefit from the NYT’s costly news gathering and curation.

NYT argues that this is an unethical free ride on journalism, allowing companies to unfairly compete with journalism. The article claims that verbatim NYT excerpts even appear in some AI output.

The tech companies argue that using copyrighted data to train AI falls under fair use provisions. But NYT claims the scale is industrial and goes far beyond the bounds of fair use.

Wider implications for the AI ​​industry

The lawsuit could set important precedents around copyright and AI training datasets. If NYT wins, it could force tech companies to overhaul the way they develop AI, and perhaps pay for training data licenses. This could make developing capable, safe AI significantly more expensive.

Some experts argue this could increase tech giants’ advantage over smaller companies that can’t pay for licenses. But NYT emphasizes the importance of protecting its journalism and receiving fair compensation.

Key facts

Prosecutor The New York Times
Defendants Microsoft and Open AI
Lawsuit filed Federal District Court, Manhattan, December 2022
Compensation sought Billions of dollars
NYT wants Command over AI trained with its content

The monumental lawsuit is still ongoing. But it is clear that the case will determine the future development of artificial intelligence. Balancing innovation and copyright will only become a more complex problem as AI capabilities continue to develop.


The New York Times’ legal action raises crucial unresolved issues surrounding copyright, journalism and AI ethics. With AI poised to transform many industries, cases like these will likely help decide how the benefits of AI are distributed fairly and ethically. But for now, the defendants face potentially enormous consequences.

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