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‘Protect The Literary Landscape’: Authors Guild Files Suit Against OpenAI

Photo by Ilgmyzin via Unsplash

‘Protect The Literary Landscape’: Authors Guild Files Suit Against OpenAI

By Movieguide® Contributor

Authors Guild members, including John Grisham, George R. R. Martin and Jodi Picoult, have filed a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, claiming the tech infringes on their written work. 

“The Authors Guild serves to protect the literary landscape and the profession of writing,” Maya Shanbhag Lang, the president of the Authors Guild, said in a statement about the suit. “This case is merely the beginning of our battle to defend authors from theft by OpenAI and other generative AI.”

The lawsuit states that OpenAI copied authors’ works “without permission,” pointing to “accurately generated summaries” the technology created of Grisham’s books. 

“The lawsuit seeks class certification, an injunction prohibiting their works from being used in the large language models without authorization, unspecified actual damages and, in the alternative, statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringed work,” Deadline reported.

Other authors listed as plaintiffs in the suit include David Baldacci, Mary Bly, Sylvia Day, Elin Hilderbrand, Christina Baker Kline, Maya Shanbhag Lang, Victor LaValle, Douglas Preston, Roxana Robinson, George Saunders, Scott Turow and Rachel Vail.

Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger said, “It is imperative that we stop this theft in its tracks or we will destroy our incredible literary culture, which feeds many other creative industries in the US. Great books are generally written by those who spend their careers and, indeed, their lives, learning and perfecting their crafts. To preserve our literature, authors must have the ability to control if and how their works are used by generative AI.”

A spokesperson for OpenAI responded to the Guild’s lawsuit: “Creative professionals around the world use ChatGPT as a part of their creative process. We respect the rights of writers and authors, and believe they should benefit from AI technology. We’re having productive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, and have been working cooperatively to understand and discuss their concerns about AI. We’re optimistic we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together to help people utilize new technology in a rich content ecosystem.”

Authors are just the latest creative voices to hit back against AI technology. Movieguide® previously reported on movie and television writers’ concerns:

Since the public became aware of AI’s power primarily through the release of ChatGPT last October, its use in entertainment has been hotly debated. Now a primary issue for the writers’ and actors’ strikes, how reasonable are the concerns?

“Everyone understands that AI is a tidal wave that is coming for us one way or another,” said Sarah Moses, entertainment litigation partner at Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips. “But it’s hard to negotiate right now because there are so many unknowns.”

Director Joe Russo (AVENGERS: ENDGAME, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR), for example, believes that AI will be able to create feature-length movies within two years. While these movies may not be as entertaining as human-made movies, they would enable new features, like making the viewer a main character.

“At some point, perhaps, you could tell a video-streaming service, ‘Hey, I want a movie starring my photoreal avatar and Marilyn Monroe’s photo real avatar,’” Russo said in an April interview with Collider. “It renders a very competent story with dialogue that mimics your voice… And suddenly now you have a rom-com starring you that’s 90 minutes long. So you can curate your story specifically to you.”


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