Comedian and author Sarah Silverman as well as other published authors allege that OpenAI infringed upon copyright by making copies of their books as well as works of those who are similarly situated. The complaint argued that the OpenAI’s large language models are themselves infringing derivative works because the models cannot function without the expressive information extracted from the infringed works.
OpenAI moved to dismiss the claims for vicarious copyright infringement, violation of DMCA § 1202, unjust enrichment, and negligence. Although OpenAI did not move to dismiss the direct copyright infringement claim, it laid grounds to discredit infringement claims by invoking the fair use doctrine, requirement for substantial similarity, and that copyright does not protect ideas, facts, or language. In a memo filed in September 2023, the plaintiffs strongly rebutted by arguing that copyright infringement does not require a showing of substantial similarity in direct copying cases in the Ninth Circuit and reiterated the strength of their direct copyright infringement claim.