John Grisham, George RR Martin and Jodi Picoult Join Class Action Lawsuit Against OpenAI

Filed by the Authors Guild, the lawsuit accuses the AI company of infringing on their literary work

John Grisham George R.R. Martin Jodi Picoult
John Grisham, George R.R. Martin and Jodi Picoult (Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Jon Kopaloff/Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, Elin Hilderbrand and other prominent fiction writers joined the Authors Guild in filing a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging that the technology is encroaching on the industry. 

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, accused the AI company of infringing on authors’ copyrights by using their work to train its chatbot, ChatGPT. The Authors Guild claimed that the chatbot has the ability to generate “derivative works” that mimic style and summarize the content without fair compensation or even being notified. The suit argues that ChatGPT is harming the market for authors’ work. 

In the complaint, the Authors Guild said, “The success and profitability of OpenAI are predicated on mass copyright infringement without a word of permission from or a nickel of compensation to copyright owners.” 

“Plaintiffs and other professional writers are thus reasonably concerned about the risks OpenAI’s conduct poses to their livelihoods specifically and the literary arts generally,” continued the complaint. 

“Generative AI is a vast new field for Silicon Valley’s longstanding exploitation of content providers. Authors should have the right to decide when their works are used to ‘train’ AI. If they choose to opt in, they should be appropriately compensated,” author Jonathan Franzen said in a statement

Other plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit include Sylvia Day, David Baldacci, Mary Bly, Christina Baker Kline, Victor LaValle, Maya Shanbhag Lang, Douglas Preston, Roxana Robinson, George Saunders, Scott Turow and Rachel Vail. 

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and is seeking class certification, to prohibit their literary works from being used in the company’s “large language models” without authorization. 

The Authors Guild lawsuit is the latest in a series of litigation over AI and its implementation.