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Sarah Silverman Is Suing OpenAI and Meta

Sarah Silverman
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Sarah Silverman has filed a lawsuit against Meta and OpenAI for copyright infringement.

Sarah Silverman is suing Meta and OpenAI for copyright infringement, saying that the artificial intelligence programs owned by the companies have been “knowingly and secretly trained” using material she's written.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in San Francisco, in tandem with suits from authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey. The three claim that “much of the material” used to train AI such as ChatGPT “comes from copyrighted works — including books written by Plaintiffs — that were copied by OpenAI without consent, without credit, and without compensation.”

OpenAI and Meta both train their AI programs using "shadow libraries" — data bases of pirated books that are "flagrantly illegal," according to lawsuits. Books are particularly useful to AI because they "offer the best examples of high-quality longform writing."

“Their copyrighted materials were copied and ingested as part of training,” the lawsuit claims. “Many of the plaintiffs’ books appear in the dataset that Meta admitted to using.”

The lawsuits claim that when asked to “summarize books written by [her]," the programs “generated very accurate summaries.” However, “The summaries get some details wrong," and are “only possible if ChatGPT was trained on Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works.”

The text generated by ChatGPT when asked to summarize Silverman’s memoir, The Bedwetter, is cited in the suit.

“One of the key topics in the first part of the memoir is Silverman’s struggle with enuresis, or bedwetting, which extended into her teenage years,” the program wrote. “This issue caused her significant distress and embarrassment, but also fueled her resilience and ability to deal with adversity.”

The lawsuits say that Meta and OpenAI's programs continue to cause “irreparable injury that cannot fully be compensated or measured in money," and are seeking unspecified statutory damages, which may entail mandatory changes to programs like ChatGPT.

Meta and OpenAI have not yet responded to the lawsuits.

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