NYT suing OpenAI is a good thing

The NYT is currently suing OpenAI and Microsoft as The Guardian reports and several others have done so before e.g. John Grisham and George R.R. Martin (maybe OpenAI can finish A song of ice and fire?)

This makes me happy. What OpenAI has done is theft. There is a reason you cannot take an NYT article—or one from my own website if you wish—and do something with it and profit from it commercially. People would nod in agreement when you describe it this way because we all understand it amounts to theft. Yet this is precisely what OpenAI has done and is continuing to defend its actions in the name of humanity.

One would have to be incredibly naïve to think OpenAI is driven by some altruistic desire to improve humanity’s wellbeing at all costs so that Star Trek’s version of utopia can be achieved. Anyway, the iA writer team—which built the app on which I’m typing these words—put it cheekily:

Your content is not that important to us, it's irrelevant in the big picture, but it's important for humanity that we use it together with everybody else's content for free so we can save the world, by creating a machine that can produce similar content to yours, cheaper, that we then sell. So, we're very anti-copyright now, not for profit, for humanity's sake. We swear.

That’s pretty much what OpenAI is saying. In their own words they “collaborate with news organisations and are creating new opportunities” (What opportunities that benefit individuals exactly?) and they claim that “training is fair use but [they] provide an opt-out” (Which is Facebook’s schtick at this point where you do what you will in the name of an inconspicuous opt-out). Also, it’s worth asking if “training is fair use” because here’s how “fair use” is defined according to the Oxford English Dictionary

the doctrine that excerpts of copyrighted material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted without the permission of the copyright holder for purposes such as private study, research, or criticism;

Is the NYT’s content (and other’s that OpenAI stole) copyrighted material? Yes. Is OpenAI using to quote? No. How about for private study? No. Or research or criticism perhaps? No. Is OpenAI profiting from its use of copyrighted material by producing something that would not exist without that copyrighted material in the first place? Yes. Is that stealing? Most certainly.

This is a note, a brief thought or reflection recorded for being meaningful or for sharing things of interest. Longer writings are in the essays section.