Theft is Theft: NY Times v ChatGPT

The billion-dollar lawsuit brought by The New York Times against OpenAI et al. has raised many important issues and gotten a lot of attention in general.

One position from OpenAI is comment-worthy, but I don’t see receiving attention.

OpenAI contends that AI progress is impossible without using copyrighted material and that that justifies their use of it.

I find this position to be ludicrous for two reasons.

First, it can’t possibly be true. Anything that has been created by others under copyright could be created by a team created by OpenAI.

Second, regardless of whether it is true, an ingredient being necessary is not an excuse for not paying for it. If you or I started a business that was only viable because it stole something (or perhaps failed to pay its workers a living wage), that would not be a good reason to do illegal or unethical things; it would be a reason why that business wasn’t viable and shouldn’t exist in that form.

Whether it is creating their own writing teams or properly buying appropriate rights, it’s hard for me to imagine that a multi-billion dollar high-flying can’t afford it.

I find the position to be morally bankrupt.

That said, it may well be that the system could well be built from freely available text.

And it may be that this counts as fair use.

I am not weighing in on either the factual or legal questions.

Only the moral one: “It’s necessary for my business or even my entire industry,” will never be a valid justification for theft.

Original Linkedin Article

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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