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Several authors, including comedian Sarah Silverman, faced a setback in their copyright dispute against OpenAI as a California federal court dismissed vicarious copyright infringement and DMCA violation claims. The accusations centered around OpenAI allegedly utilizing pirated copies of their books for model training. Despite this early ruling, the lawsuit is ongoing. In recent months, various rightsholders, spanning record labels, individual authors, visual artists, and even the New York Times, have initiated legal action against AI model development companies. Many of these lawsuits, including those by book authors, highlight concerns about the use of their work without proper compensation, often involving the controversial Books3 dataset.

 

 

 

Created in 2020 by AI researcher Shawn Presser, the Books3 dataset, sourced from the ‘pirate’ site Bibliotik, contains over 195,000 books, approximately 37GB in size. While this collection serves as valuable training material for Large Language Models, authors like Paul Tremblay, Mona Awad, Sarah Silverman, Christopher Golden, and Richard Kadrey have expressed disapproval over the use of their works without permission or compensation. Last June, Tremblay and Awad filed a lawsuit accusing OpenAI of direct and vicarious copyright infringement. Subsequently, Sarah Silverman joined forces with Golden and Kadrey in a similar suit, alleging that their books were sourced from pirate sites, including the Books3 dataset and other shadow libraries like LibGen, Z-Library, and Sci-Hub.

 

 

 

The authors contended that these shadow libraries, known for hosting flagrantly illegal content, were of interest to the AI-training community. OpenAI, while not directly refuting the allegations, disputed the assertion that using books for AI training constituted vicarious copyright infringement or DMCA violations.

 

 

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