Nvidia being sued by writers for unauthorized use of their works in generative AI training

Nvidia
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Joining the ever-growing list of companies being sued over generative AI and its blatant reliance on copyright infringement, primary AI hardware source Nvidia is now being sued by a collective of authors in a class action lawsuit, reports Reuters. While Nvidia's NeMo technology is pushed as a low-cost entry to AI, that seems to have come at the expense of the writers of the 196,640 books used in NeMo's now-deleted training set.

Three of those writers have come forward in the class action lawsuit: Brian Keene (Ghost Walk, 2008), Abdi Nazemian (Like a Love Story, 2019), and Stewart O'Nan (Last Night at the Lobster, 2007). The three books cited are also cited in the original lawsuit as material unfairly used by NeMo without compensation.

This is not the first of the major lawsuits relating to generative AI that we've covered in recent history. There's also The New York Times v. OpenAI and Microsoft and our op-ed on the legal and ethical status of generative AI.

As cutting-edge generative AI solutions like Sora and the profits driven by it continue to grow, valid concerns about the legitimacy of that work likewise continues to grow. Intel and Microsoft say that we've entered the era of AI PCs, but that doesn't mean humans shouldn't be compensated for the creative and professional contributions made with their finite, meaty lifespans.

Unlike most of the other major ongoing lawsuits happening right now, this NeMo Nvidia lawsuit might be a little more interesting. Nvidia isn't just a random company with an offending model, but is instead the primary purveyor of AI hardware that others are using for their AI model training. Considering the scale and publicity of Nvidia's AI investments, profits, and shady market tactics, the outcome of this could be quite the gunshot for the era of no-citation, no-pay "generative" AI.

Only time will tell what legal precedents will ultimately be set by all these ongoing cases relating to generative AI. Ethically, though, it seems rather clear that "intelligence" that can only function by taking everyone else's work should probably be doing more than just printing money for its operators without accountability.

Freelance News Writer
  • Dantte
    Just throwing this out there to stir some thought:
    If I buy a book for my kid, they read it and learn, is this copywrite infringement? What if I dont buy the book, but instead goto the local library and read it for free? Does my kid now have to cite the author anytime they speak because their learned-experience comes from a book, or a collection of 1000s, they read?

    Humans learn through our collective experiences, including from books we read, we dont just gain knowledge through osmosis. The author of those books we read do not own our thoughts, just as they shouldnt own the "thoughts" of AI. I guess the question is, what constitutes original thought, one could argue otherwise that the books the authors wrote arent original works but a collection of personal experiences the author gathered from reading others' books.
    Reply
  • HaninTH
    Dantte said:
    Just throwing this out there to stir some though:
    If I buy a book for my kid, they read it and learn, is this copywrite infringement? What if I dont buy the book, but instead goto the local library and read it for free? Does my kid now have to cite the author anytime they speak because their learned-experience comes from a book, or a collection of 1000s, they read?
    This is a commercial use issue. If you or your child made a commercial product derived from these author's work's, they would likely come for their cut as well.

    nVidia looks to have publicly disclosed the use of these author's works and then tried to scrub it from existence once the authors were made aware and nVidia had already gotten what they needed from the demo. These are not out of copyright works, so are still able to generate revenue for their rights holders.

    But, this is just wot I believe to be the actual issue, as money is always causes these types of suits.
    Reply
  • DavidLejdar
    Next step is likely, that large book publishers will change their legal stuff, when they get some money for providing a licence.

    Makes me wonder though... if a language model is going to be pretty much the mean average of everything ever written (with no differentation of whether it is from Shakespeare or from some dude, who claims to have the ultimate guide for becoming a millionaire over night), won't that make the AI pretty much a mean average? Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing as such. But perhaps training an AI specifically with the Bible in Russian, for the purpose of telling Russians that there is difference between the Old Testament and New Testament, wouldn't that make more sense in such a context, than to have the AI be trained on whatever Russian state TV is saying?
    HaninTH said:
    This is a commercial use issue. If you or your child made a commercial product derived from these author's work's, they would likely come for their cut as well.

    nVidia looks to have publicly disclosed the use of these author's works and then tried to scrub it from existence once the authors were made aware and nVidia had already gotten what they needed from the demo. These are not out of copyright works, so are still able to generate revenue for their rights holders.

    But, this is just wot I believe to be the actual issue, as money is always causes these types of suits.
    Yeah. Example would be e.g. a commercial movie based on the aformentioned book (and such isn't in the public domain), without permission for such an undertaking.

    Similarly, if someone takes a RTX 4090 and the drivers, and tasks an AI with providing a blueprint, based on which to produce a commercial GPU, there might be some objections, in regard to patents and stuff.
    Reply
  • Dantte
    HaninTH said:
    This is a commercial use issue. If you or your child made a commercial product derived from these author's work's, they would likely come for their cut as well.

    nVidia looks to have publicly disclosed the use of these author's works and then tried to scrub it from existence once the authors were made aware and nVidia had already gotten what they needed from the demo. These are not out of copyright works, so are still able to generate revenue for their rights holders.

    But, this is just wot I believe to be the actual issue, as money is always causes these types of suits.
    If this was a 1:1 situation I would agree, but were talking about AI using the works of 1000s, "196,640 books" to be exact, to "train" AI into creating something completely new. This lawsuit does not point to any output from AI where an author is stating 'that is my original work they used without citation', they are merely suing because their work was used for training/learning.

    The very words I'm writing now were influnced by all the books I've read and experiences in my life, should I be sued for copywrite because I learned something in my life? Who knows, I might even take those experiences that influence me and use it to make MILLION$ and grow a successful company... I owe those authors nothing! Whether this is a human or a machine shouldnt matter IMO.
    Reply
  • Findecanor
    Dantte said:
    If this was a 1:1 situation I would agree, but were talking about AI using the works of 1000s, "196,640 books" to be exact, to "train" AI into creating something completely new.
    How about stealing 196,640 dollars from one person, or one dollar each from 196,640 people. Is one stealing and the other not?

    The big difference is that no single victim can claim any significant amount of damage, since they were all stolen from.

    Does it create something "completely new"? No, it does not. it is only a novel way to steal.
    Reply
  • Ralston18
    And if an AI creates "something completely new" that goes bad, then who is liable?

    Just wondering....
    Reply
  • Dantte
    Findecanor said:
    How about stealing 196,640 dollars from one person, or one dollar each from 196,640 people. Is one stealing and the other not?

    The big difference is that no single victim can claim any significant amount of damage, since they were all stolen from.

    Does it create something "completely new"? No, it does not. it is only a novel way to steal.
    I dont think its stealing, just as I dont believe the MILLIONS of people going to the library and reading a book for free to gain knowledge is stealing. Again I ask, how is this any different it being a machine vs human?
    Ralston18 said:
    And if an AI creates "something completely new" that goes bad, then who is liable?

    Just wondering....
    Oppenheimer read 1000s of books which gave him knowledge to create the atomic bomb, of those books I guarantee many were obtained "free" so to Findecanor was this knowledge stolen?... who is liable?
    Reply
  • MatheusNRei
    Dantte said:
    The very words I'm writing now were influnced by all the books I've read and experiences in my life, should I be sued for copywrite because I learned something in my life? Who knows, I might even take those experiences that influence me and use it to make MILLION$ and grow a successful company... I owe those authors nothing! Whether this is a human or a machine shouldnt matter IMO.
    You also paid for every single book read that wasn't provided to you for free by someone who did or that was out of copyright.

    You already paid the authors their due when you bought their book or the library you read them from did when THEY bought it from the publisher.

    NVIDIA didn't.

    We can certainly argue that AI learning is no different from human learning but if that's the case then it should be subject to the exact same laws we are subject to and that means AI companies need to pay for the content their AI is digesting just as we have to.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    Dantte said:
    Just throwing this out there to stir some thought:
    If I buy a book for my kid, they read it and learn, is this copywrite infringement? What if I dont buy the book, but instead goto the local library and read it for free? Does my kid now have to cite the author anytime they speak because their learned-experience comes from a book, or a collection of 1000s, they read?

    Humans learn through our collective experiences, including from books we read, we dont just gain knowledge through osmosis. The author of those books we read do not own our thoughts, just as they shouldnt own the "thoughts" of AI. I guess the question is, what constitutes original thought, one could argue otherwise that the books the authors wrote arent original works but a collection of personal experiences the author gathered from reading others' books.
    fair use is a thing.

    However LLM "ai's" are for profit and just copy stuff.

    Imagine if you took a book, copied it, and republished it to get $ from it.

    thats what llm's do with their content. They steal others work. They didn't pay for the thing nor did they ask permission to use it.
    Reply
  • PEnns
    Ralston18 said:
    And if an AI creates "something completely new" that goes bad, then who is liable?

    Just wondering....
    Good question.

    I believe a certain company that owns a certain AI that is working in a "good" way, will always take credit for it.

    But that will change quickly / deny responsibility should their AI product goes bad....
    Reply