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Generative AI Lawsuits Timeline: Legal Cases vs. OpenAI, Microsoft, Anthropic, Nvidia and More

July 14, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Some media companies and content producers have filed lawsuits against Generative AI (artificial intelligence) software companies such as OpenAI (maker of ChatGPT), Microsoft, Anthropic, Midjourney, Stability AI and DeviantArt, and chip giant Nvidia.

Many of the lawsuits involve alleged copyright infringement. In short, the complaints often claim that AI companies illegally train various large language models (LLMs) on copyrighted content from media companies.

In response, Generative AI companies typically say the lawsuits are without merit because their business strategies leverage "fair use" to train their AI models.

Meanwhile, some media companies are licensing their content to Generative AI companies -- though financial terms of such deals typically remain confidential.

The stakes are extremely high for all Internet content producers, generative AI companies and their investors. Previous technology waves -- from search engines to streaming services -- disrupted traditional paid media content models. Generative AI, some critics allege, could further pressure content providers, claiming that AI is illegally gathering and leveraging trademarked information. As a result, Generative AI threatens the sustainability of content producers worldwide, some critics claim.

The timeline below, updated regularly, tracks Generative AI lawsuits, legal cases, judgments, settlements, licensing agreements, and business outcomes. Check back regularly for updates.

Generative AI Lawsuits: July 2024 Updates

July 13 - OpenAI Concerns: OpenAI whistleblowers have filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the AI company illegally prohibited its employees from warning regulators about the grave risks its technology may pose to humanity, The Washington Post reported.

July 11 - Legal Representation: AI music companies Suno and Udio have hired elite law firm Latham & Watkins to defend them against AI lawsuits filed by the three major labels in late June 2024, Billboard reported.

July 5 - Court Ruling: OpenAI and GitHub escaped legal claims from open-source software programmers alleging the AI coding tool Copilot replicated their code without proper copyright notices and licensing information, Bloomberg Law reported.

July 1 - New York Times vs. OpenAI: In a lawsuit twist, OpenAI wants The New York Times to prove it is the source of certain content, according to a letter from OpenAI's attorneys to a New York judge.

Generative AI Lawsuits and Licensing Deals: June 2024 Updates

June 28 - European Union Scrutinizes OpenAI-Microsoft Deal: The European Union is escalating its scrutiny of the artificial intelligence industry, including taking a fresh look into Microsoft’s multibillion-dollar partnership with OpenAI, the Associated Press reported.

June 27 - Alleged Content Scraping: Amazon’s cloud division has launched an investigation into Perplexity AI, Wired reported/ At issue is whether the AI search startup is violating AWS rules by scraping websites that attempted to prevent it from doing so, the report said.

June 27 - New Lawsuit: The Center for Investigative Reporting -- parent of Mother Jones and Reveal, has sued ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Microsoft, marking a new front in the legal battle between news publications fighting against unauthorized use of their content on AI platforms, the Associated Press reported.

June 27 - OpenAI Content Partnership: TIME and OpenAI announced a multi-year content deal that brings TIME's content to OpenAI’s products, including ChatGPT. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

June 26- YouTube Content Licensing Deals?: YouTube is in talks with record labels to license their songs for artificial intelligence tools that clone popular artists’ music, hoping to win over a skeptical industry with upfront payments, Financial Times reported. Google, a key investor in AI startup Anthropic, owns YouTube.

June 25 - Anthropic Legal Case: Anthropic has convinced a Tennessee federal judge to move music publishers’ lyrics copyright lawsuit to a California district court, Bloomberg Law reported. The judge ruled the eight music publishers, which include Universal Music Group and Concord Music Group Inc., failed to prove the Tennessee court had personal jurisdiction, the Bloomberg report said.

June 24 - Music Industry Files Lawsuit: Some of the biggest record labels in the music industry have sued two AI startups -- Suno and Udio -- alleging that they have committed copyright infringement on an “almost unimaginable scale” by developing AI tools that can generate music tracks based on a user’s prompt within seconds, The Indian Express reported. The plaintiffs – Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Warner Bros, Capitol Records, and a few others – filed two separate complaints on June 24, the report noted.

June 14 - Proposed Lawsuit Settlement: Facial recognition company Clearview AI has agreed to resolve claims that it violated the privacy rights of millions of Americans, Reuters reported, reaching an unusual class action settlement based on a theoretical stake in the company's future value.

June 11 - AI Lawsuit Dropped: Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped his lawsuit against OpenAI and co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, CNBC reported. In the suit, Musk alleged that OpenAI abandoned its social-good mission in order to focus on revenue opportunities.

Generative AI Lawsuits & Warnings: May 2024 Updates

May 21 - Potential Lawsuit: Actress Scarlett Johansson threatened legal action against OpenAI for allegedly copying and imitating her voice after she refused to license it to the company, The Hollywood Reporter said.

May 16- Lawsuit vs Lovo: Two voice actors sued AI startup Lovo in Manhattan federal court, accusing Lovo of illegally copying their voices and using them without permission in its AI voiceover technology, Reuters reported.

May 16 - Sony Music Warns AI Companies: Sony Music Group, one of the world’s biggest record labels, warned AI companies and music streaming platforms not to use the company’s content without explicit permission, Bloomberg reported. Sony Music sent letters to more than 700 companies in an effort to protect its intellectual property, which includes album cover art, metadata, musical compositions and lyrics, from being used for training AI models, the report said.

Generative AI Lawsuits & Agreements: April 2024 Updates

April 30 - More Media Lawsuits: Eight newspapers have filed suit against OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that their AI software undermines the newspaper industry, The Mercury News reported. The plaintiffs include MediaNews Group-owned Mercury News, Denver Post, Orange County Register and St. Paul Pioneer-Press; Tribune Publishing’s Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun Sentinel; and the New York Daily News. Microsoft declined to comment, and OpenAI said it takes "great care" In designing its products while also pursuing and exploring potential partnerships with media organizations, The Mercury News added.

April 30 - Content Agreement: Google has agreed to pay News Corp -- owner of The Wall Street Journal -- between $5 million and $6 million annually to fund News Corp's development of AI-related content and products, The Information reported.

April 29 - OpenAI and the Financial Times: OpenAI has signed a deal with British news outlet Financial Times, SeekingAlpha reported. The deal permits OpenAI to use Financial Times content for AI model training. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

April 29 - Complaint vs. OpenAI: Advocacy group NOYB of Austria has filed a complaint against OpenAI, alleging that the company's ChatGPT software may breach European Union privacy rules, Reuters reported.

April 22 - Former Employee vs. Amazon: A former Amazon employee alleges that the company breached its own copyright rules involving AI and Alexa, The Register reported. In a lawsuit, the former employee alleges alleging discrimination, retaliation, harassment and wrongful termination, among other claims." An Amazon spokesperson says the company does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in our workplace, the report said.

April 6 - YouTube and IT Training: OpenAI and Google trained their AI models on text transcribed from YouTube videos, potentially violating creators’ copyrights, according to The New York Times. The report surfaced a few days after YouTube CEO Neal Mohan said in an interview with Bloomberg Originals that OpenAI’s alleged use of YouTube videos to train its new text-to-video generator, Sora, would go against the platform’s policies. A Yahoo News summary is here.

April 3 - Settlement - George Carlin Estate vs. AI: George Carlin‘s estate has settled a lawsuit over an AI-generated imitation of the late comedian, with the creators agreeing to remove it from their YouTube channel and podcast feed, Variety reported.

Generative AI Lawsuits: March 2024 Updates

March 13 - New York Times vs. OpenAI Lawsuit: The New York Times denied an OpenAI claim that the newspaper improperly used OpenAI products to create "highly anomalous results" as part of its lawsuit against the AI startup, SeekingAlpha reported.

March 11 - Lawsuit vs. Nvidia: Three authors -- Brian Keene, Abdi Nazemian and Stewart O'Nan -- have sued Nvidia because the chip giant alleged used their copyrighted books without permission to train its NeMo AI platform, Reuters reported.

More: Continue to page two for additional AI-related lawsuits.

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