NPR is reporting that the NY Times is considering legal action against Open AI, the maker of ChatGPT:

For weeks, the Times and the maker of ChatGPT have been locked in tense negotiations over reaching a licensing deal in which OpenAI would pay the Times for incorporating its stories in the tech company’s AI tools, but the discussions have become so contentious that the paper is now considering legal action. . . .

A top concern for the Times is that ChatGPT is, in a sense, becoming a direct competitor with the paper by creating text that answers questions based on the original reporting and writing of the paper’s staff. 

It’s a fear heightened by tech companies using generative AI tools in search engines. Microsoft, which has invested billions into OpenAI, is now powering its Bing search engine with ChatGPT. 

If, when someone searches online, they are served a paragraph-long answer from an AI tool that refashions reporting from the Times, the need to visit the publisher’s website is greatly diminished, said one person involved in the talks.

Some observers think that disputes like this will be resolved through negotiation with publishers. space. Not likely. Way too many “publishers” out there for this approach to work and no class actions appear feasible to this observer.

The Washington Post provides a good introduction to the legal theories involved and plaintiffs’ chances of success.

One prediction is safe: Turbulence ahead.