OpenAI Accuses New York Times of 'Hacking' ChatGPT

Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska Senior Editor
Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska Senior Editor

OpenAI is asking a judge to dismiss portions of The New York Times‘ lawsuit against it. The company claims that the Times hired an individual to access OpenAI products, including ChatGPT, and create 100 instances of copyright infringement to support its lawsuit.

OpenAI alleges in its filing to the Manhattan federal court that it took the newspaper “tens of thousands of attempts to generate the highly anomalous results,” and that the company used “deceptive prompts that blatantly violate OpenAI’s terms of use” to do so.

“Normal people do not use OpenAI’s products in this way,” OpenAI argued in the filing.

This type of “hacking” is also called prompt engineering or “red-teaming” and it’s widely used by AI trust and safety teams, ethicists, academics, and tech companies to rigorously examine AI systems for any weaknesses.

OpenAI didn’t identify the “hired gun” it claims the Times employed to manipulate its systems, nor did it charge the newspaper with violating any anti-hacking statutes.

“In this filing, OpenAI doesn’t dispute — nor can they — that they copied millions of The Times’s works to build and power its commercial products without our permission,” Ian Crosby, Susman Godfrey partner and lead counsel for the Times, said in a statement.

“What OpenAI bizarrely mischaracterizes as ‘hacking’ is simply using OpenAI’s products to look for evidence that they stole and reproduced The Times’s copyrighted works. And that is exactly what we found. In fact, the scale of OpenAI’s copying is much larger than the 100-plus examples set forth in the complaint,” he added.

The Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft, its biggest financial supporter, back in December, accusing them of training chatbots with millions of the newspaper’s articles without authorization. It’s one of the many copyright holders, including authors, visual artists, and music publishers, who have taken legal action against tech companies for purportedly misusing their content in AI training.

Tech companies argue that their AI systems use copyrighted materials fairly and claim that these lawsuits pose a threat to the development of a potentially multi trillion-dollar industry.

About the Author
Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska
Senior Editor

About the Author

Penka Hristovska is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She was an editor at several review sites that covered all things technology — including VPNs and password managers — and had previously written on various topics, from online security and gaming to computer hardware. She’s highly interested in the latest developments in the cybersecurity space and enjoys learning about new trends in the tech sector. When she’s not in “research mode,” she’s probably re-watching Lord of The Rings or playing DOTA 2 with her friends.

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