NYT AI lawsuit gets weird as OpenAI demands sources for every article

An ongoing lawsuit by the New York Times (NYT) against OpenAI took a strange twist on July 1 when the AI firm filed documents asking the court to order the venerable publisher to prove the originality of its articles by providing detailed source materials for each copyrighted work. 

According to the NYT, OpenAI used its articles to train artificial intelligence (AI) models without asking for permission or offering compensation. OpenAI has maintained that its use of materials that it “scraped” from the internet is fair.

OpenAI seeks discovery

As first spotted by TorrentFreak, on July 1 lawyers representing OpenAI filed a request with a U.S. court in New York asking the judge overseeing the case to order the New York Times “to provide discovery showing the copyrighted works are original works of authorship.”

The “copyrighted works” referred to in the document appear to be pretty much every article the NYT has published that could have ended up on the internet.

Related: OpenAI accuses New York Times of hacking AI models in copyright lawsuit

Specifically, OpenAI is also asking that the judge order the NYT to provide full details documenting the authorship process of each article.

Per OpenAI’s lawyers:

“The Times alleges, for example, that ‘[t]o produce world-class journalism,’ it ‘invests an enormous amount of time, . . . expertise, and talent,’ including through ‘deep investigations—which usually take months and sometimes years to report and produce—into complex and important areas of public interest.’ Having chosen to put directly at issue how the Times created the works at issue—including the methods, time, labor, and investment—OpenAI has a right to discovery into the same.”

NYT’s response

The New York Times’ legal team filed a response to OpenAI’s request just two days later on July 3. Unsurprisingly, the NYT is opposed to the request and has asked that the judge dismiss it.

Per the New York Times’ lawyers:

“OpenAI’s claim that it needs all ‘reporter’s notes, interview memos, records of materials cited, or other ‘files’ for each asserted work’—purportedly to determine whether The Times’s works are in fact protectable intellectual property—is unprecedented and turns copyright law on its head.”

The NYT’s motion to dismiss essentially says that how copyrighted material is created isn’t relevant to how that copyrighted materials were used in this case.

As of July 4, and this article’s time of publication, no further documents have been made available to the public. It remains to be seen how the judge in this case will respond to the opposing motions.

Related: OpenAI inks deal with Time while facing added lawsuit from news nonprofit