News Corp. CEO Jabs at New York Times OpenAI Lawsuit: ‘Courtship Is Preferable to Courtrooms’

“While certain other media companies prefer litigation, we prefer consultation,” Robert Thomson said on Wednesday’s earnings call

News Corp CEO Robert Thompson
News Corp CEO Robert Thompson (Getty Images)

News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson torched the New York Times’ lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI on Wednesday’s earnings call, saying, “Courtship is preferable to courtrooms.”

News Corp., which was initially hesitant to partner with AI companies, has changed its tune regarding AI’s role in the industry, with Thomson saying Wednesday that the company intends to be a “core content provider for generative AI companies who need the highest quality timely content to ensure the relevance of their products.”

Thomson then launched a jab toward the Times, which is suing Microsoft and OpenAI, saying “While certain other media companies prefer litigation, we prefer consultation, as the former is merely creating a gold rush for lawyers.” 

“Courtship is preferable to courtrooms,” Thomson added. “We are wooing, not suing.”

The New York Times filed an ambitious lawsuit in December against Microsoft and OpenAI, accusing the tech giants of copyright infringement. The suit argues that the generative A.I. tools that Microsoft and OpenAI have created rely on large language models, or LLM, “that were built by copying and using millions of The Times’s copyrighted news articles, in-depth investigations, opinion pieces, reviews, how-to guides and more.”

The Times’ lawsuit marks the first blockbuster case from news publishers over generative AI capabilities and how chatbots were trained, as the technology begins to embed itself in the media industry.

Thomson added that “those who are repurposing our content without approval are stealing. They are undermining creativity.”

The News Corp. CEO also praised OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who Thomson believes “has shown a clear understanding of the social importance of journalism.”

“We speak of the AI hallucinating and yet we as a society are hallucinating,” Thomson continued.  

We must “focus firmly on provenance at a time when even the very words misinformation and disinformation have themselves become sources of misinformation and disinformation,” the News Corp. CEO said. 

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