Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, December 4, 2023

Prominent Authors File Class Action Against OpenAI Alleging Copyright Infringement Through LLMs 

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2023 -- Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP today announced the filing of a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of prominent authors including David Baldacci, Mary Bly, Michael Connelly, Sylvia Day, Jonathan Franzen, John Grisham, Elin Hilderbrand, Christina Baker Kline, Maya Shanbhag Lang, Victor LaValle, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, Douglas Preston, Roxana Robinson, George Saunders, Scott Turow, and Rachel Vail, as well as The Authors Guild itself, against OpenAI seeking redress under the Copyright Act for OpenAI’s flagrant and harmful infringements of Plaintiffs’ registered copyrights in written works of fiction.

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The class action lawsuit alleges that OpenAI copied the plaintiffs’ works wholesale, without permission or consideration, then fed the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works into their ‘large language models’ or ‘LLMs,’ algorithmic systems designed to output human-seeming text responses to users’ prompts and queries. The suit includes claims for direct copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. section 501 as well as vicarious and contributory copyright infringement, and injunctive relief in the form of a fair licensing regime as well as statutory and other damages.

“Without plaintiffs’ and the proposed class’ copyrighted works, Defendants would have a vastly different commercial product,” noted Lieff Cabraser partner Rachel Geman, Co-Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Proposed Class. “Defendants’ decision to copy authors’ works, done without offering any choices or any compensation, threatens the role and livelihood of writers as a whole.”

Scott Sholder, Cowan, DeBaets partner and Co-Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Proposed Class, added, “Plaintiffs don’t object to the development of generative AI, but the defendants had no right to develop their AI technologies with unpermitted use of the authors’ copyrighted works. Defendants could have ‘trained’ their large language models on works in the public domain or paid a reasonable licensing fee to use copyrighted works.”

About Lieff Cabraser

Among the largest law firms in the U.S. representing only plaintiffs, Lieff Cabraser continues its 50+ year commitment to corporate accountability; promoting fair competition and equitable business practices; safeguarding product safety; protecting our environment; securing justice for consumers, employees, patients, investors, and business owners; ensuring our rights to privacy; and upholding the civil rights of citizens worldwide. Learn more at

About Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP

For more than three decades, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP has provided legal counsel to leading media, art, technology, and entertainment clients, from individual creators, to corporations, associations, and non-profit organizations. See for more information.

Source: Lieff Cabraser