NYT

Authors suing OpenAI lose bid to halt rival N.Y. copyright lawsuits

Credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

By Blake Brittain

March 4 (Reuters) - A federal judge in California has denied a request by authors suing OpenAI for copyright infringement to block the company from defending against related cases filed in Manhattan by the New York Times NYT.N and high-profile writers such as John Grisham and George R.R. Martin.

U.S. District Judge Araceli Martinez-Olguin said on Friday that the authors in the California case, including Michael Chabon, Ta-Nehisi Coates and comedian Sarah Silverman, had cited "no authority" that would allow her to stop Microsoft-backed MSFT.O OpenAI from defending against lawsuits in a separate court.

Representatives for the authors and OpenAI did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. A spokesperson for the New York Times declined to comment.

Several groups of copyright owners including writers, visual artists and music publishers have sued major tech companies like OpenAI over the alleged misuse of their work to train generative artificial-intelligence systems.

The authors in the California case sued OpenAI last summer, accusing it of using their books without permission or compensation to train the AI model underlying its popular chatbot ChatGPT.

The Authors Guild filed a similar lawsuit against the company in New York in September, followed by additional complaints there from authors and the Times.

The California authors said last month that allowing the "copycat" cases to continue would create inconsistent rulings and waste the courts' resources. They also accused OpenAI of "procedural gamesmanship" and said it was "looking for a better deal" in New York after the California court rejected its proposed litigation schedule.

Martinez-Olguin rejected the authors' request in a three-page order on Friday.

"Only in the most unusual cases should the Court grant an injunction that would interfere with another federal proceeding," Martinez-Olguin said. "Plaintiffs have not shown such an 'unusual case.'"

Martinez-Olguin also said that the authors did not explain "how the requested injunction would work on a practical level," since it would have allowed the New York plaintiffs to "continue prosecuting their case while OpenAI would be unable to defend the action."

The case is OpenAI ChatGPT Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:23-cv-03223.

For the authors: Joseph Saveri of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Bryan Clobes of Cafferty Clobes Meriweather & Sprengel; Matthew Butterick

For OpenAI: Joe Gratz of Morrison & Foerster, Andy Gass of Latham & Watkins

Read more:

Sarah Silverman sues Meta, OpenAI for copyright infringement

John Grisham, other top US authors sue OpenAI over copyrights

Authors suing OpenAI ask California court to block competing New York cases

(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington)

((blake.brittain@tr.com; +1 (202) 938-5713;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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