Microsoft Corporation Executive Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella attends a session during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 16, 2024.

Denis Balibus | Reuters

Microsoft is accusatory New York Times of “baseless” allegations in the publisher’s lawsuit filed in December against OpenAI, a case that could have major implications for the future of generative artificial intelligence.

IN motion to dismiss as part of Monday’s lawsuit, Microsoft said the Times presented a false narrative of “end-of-the-world futurology” in which OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot would destroy the news business. In the opening line of its argument to the court, Microsoft compared the case to Hollywood’s resistance to the VCR, which was created in the 1970s and allowed users to record television programs.

“In this case, The New York Times is using its power and its megaphone to challenge the latest profound technological advance: the Big Language Model,” Microsoft’s lawyers wrote. Microsoft is OpenAI’s biggest investor, having poured about $13 billion into the startup.

The filing marks the latest salvo in the battle between OpenAI and the media industry, which is increasingly concerned that AI models are being trained on valuable content that has been produced for many decades. In its lawsuit, the Times accused OpenAI and Microsoft of copyright infringement and misusing the newspaper’s intellectual property in teaching the LLM.

OpenAI previously asked a judge to throw out parts of the the times” lawsuit against him, alleging that the publisher “paid someone to hack OpenAI products,” such as ChatGPT, to generate 100 examples of copyright infringement for his case. OpenAI claimed the Times it took “tens of thousands of trials to generate the highly anomalous results” and that the company did so using “deceptive prompts that flagrantly violate OpenAI’s terms of use.”

In the latest filing, Microsoft’s lawyers argued that “the content used to teach the LLM does not displace the market for works, it teaches the language of models.”

A spokesman for the Times did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Since releasing ChatGPT to the public in late 2022, OpenAI has become one of the hottest startups on the planet with a reported valuation of over $80 billion.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 18, 2024.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

OpenAI recently admitted that it is “impossible” to train top AI models without copyrighted works.

“Because copyright today covers virtually every form of human expression—including blog posts, photos, forum posts, snippets of software code, and government documents—it would be impossible to train today’s leading AI models without using copyrighted rights materials,” OpenAI wrote in a filing last month in the United Kingdom in response to an inquiry by the United Kingdom’s House of Lords.

As recently as January in Davos, Switzerland, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said he was “surprised” by the Times’ lawsuit, saying OpenAI’s models should not be trained on the publisher’s data.

“We don’t really need to train on their data,” Altman said at an event hosted by Bloomberg in Davos. “I think that’s something that people don’t understand. Any particular source of learning, it doesn’t move the needle for us that much.”

OpenAI has struck deals with Axel Springer, the German media conglomerate that owns Business Insider, Morning Brew and other publications, and is also it is reported in talks with CNN, Fox Corp. and Time for licensing their work.

CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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