OpenAI promises to fund legal costs for ChatGPT users sued over copyright

OpenAI said it would cover the legal costs for business-tier ChatGPT users who find themselves in hot water over copyright infringement.

OpenAI is calling its pledge Copyright Shield, which only covers users of its business-tier ChatGPT Enterprise and its developer platform. OpenAI isn’t covering users of the free and Plus ChatGPT versions.

On Nov. 6, at the company’s first developer conference, DevDay, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said, “We will step in and defend our customers and pay the costs incurred if you face legal claims around copyright infringement, and this applies both to ChatGPT Enterprise and the API.”

Altman at OpenAI’s DevDay introduces the legal protection offer Copyright Shield. Source: YouTube

OpenAI joins tech firms Microsoft, Amazon and Google in offering to legally back users accused of copyright infringement. Adobe and Shutterstock — stock image providers with generative AI offerings — also made the same promise.

OpenAI’s DevDay also saw the firm announce that users can soon create custom ChatGPT models with the option to sell them on an upcoming app store, along with a new and updated AI model dubbed ChatGPT-4 Turbo.

OpenAI is facing a litany of suits alleging it used copyrighted material to train its AI models.

Comedian and author Sarah Silverman, along with two others, sued OpenAI in July, claiming ChatGPT’s training data includes their copyrighted work accessed from illegal online libraries.

OpenAI was hit with at least two further suits in September. A class action alleged OpenAI and Microsoft had used stolen private information to train models, while the Author’s Guild sued OpenAI, alleging “systematic theft” of copyrighted material.

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