BBC interviews Elon Law scholar for coverage of lawsuit against OpenAI & Microsoft

David S. Levine answered questions on World Business Report about the details of copyright infringement claims brought by The New York Times against the creators of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools.

The BBC turned to an Elon Law scholar who specializes in intellectual property and trade secrecy for a recent news report on “what could be a groundbreaking legal maneuver in the U.S.”

Professor David S. Levine spoke with World Business Report host Ed Butler on December 27, 2023, for coverage of a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by The New York Times against OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT, and Microsoft. The interview segment takes place from the 1:30-6:00 minute marks.

Levine explained the lawsuit’s allegations: namely, that ChatGPT and other AI platforms accessed copyrighted materials from the Times website and, in some instances, reproduced content without permission in response to queries. The lawsuit also alleges that ChatGPT will sometimes make up information that it falsely attributes to Times reporting.

Levine said he anticipates that OpenAI and Microsoft will employee “the classic fair use defense” to the lawsuit’s copyright infringement claims.

From the interview:

“This is the first major lawsuit by a news organization that goes in this direction. It’s important to note that The New York Times alleges it had tried to work this out outside of litigation with the defendants, and the Times again alleges that those discussions failed. We can anticipate that this is really just the beginning. This is a new, massive, transformative – not in the legal sense, necessarily, although it could be – technology that creates content. … We can anticipate that any content creators that have concerns about how their content is being used will be paying close attention to this lawsuit.”

Levine joined the Elon Law faculty in 2009 and has developed an international reputation for his legal research. An affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, he also was a fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy from 2014-2017.

Levine is the founder and host of Stanford University’s KZSU-FM “Hearsay Culture,” an information policy, intellectual property law and technology talk show, and he co-authored the 2019 textbook “Information Law, Governance, and Cybersecurity.”

In recognition of his scholarly work, Levine was named the Jennings Professor and Emerging Scholar at Elon Law for 2017-2019. Most recently, Levine was named a fellow at the University of Milan’s Information Society Law Center.