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Microsoft Moves To Dismiss Parts Of New York Times’ Lawsuit

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Microsoft has filed a motion in a federal court to dismiss parts of a lawsuit by The New York Times Company. 

The lawsuit, initiated on December 27, accuses Microsoft and its partner OpenAI of copyright infringement.

It alleges the companies used The Times' articles to train artificial intelligence technologies, including the chatbot ChatGPT. 

According to The Times, these chatbots pose competition to traditional news sources by offering reliable information.

The motion was submitted to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

It argues that large language models (LLMs) – the underlying technology of chatbots – do not undermine the market for the original news articles and materials used for training. 

Microsoft draws parallels between LLMs and past technologies like videocassette recorders.

The company highlighted its legality and argued that copyright law should not hinder its development and use.

This argument is reminiscent of historical cases, such as the movie studios’ lawsuit against Sony's Betamax VCR in the late 1970s, where courts ruled personal copying for viewing as fair use under copyright law. 

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Microsoft, aligning its stance with a similar motion by OpenAI, contends that The New York Times has not demonstrated any actual harm caused by their technologies.

The company criticized claims about potential revenue loss from The Times’ review site Wirecutter.

Ian Crosby, representing The Times, said: “Microsoft doesn’t dispute that it worked with OpenAI to copy millions of The Times’s works without its permission to build its tools. Instead, it oddly compares L.L.M.s to the VCR even though VCR makers never argued that it was necessary to engage in massive copyright infringement to build their products.”

The New York Times is the first major American media company to challenge Microsoft and OpenAI over copyright concerns related to AI-generated content. 

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