Authors George RR Martin, known for the “Game of Thrones” series, and John Grisham, a prominent legal thriller writer, have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, over allegations that their works were used without permission to train the language model leading to copyright violation.

The lawsuit also involves other renowned authors, including Jonathan Franzen, Jodi Picoult, and George Saunders. It has been filed in the federal court in Manhattan by the Authors Guild, a US trade group representing these authors.

According to the complaint, OpenAI engaged in “systematic theft on a mass scale” by using copyrighted books to train ChatGPT, which has the capability to provide accurate summaries of these books.

This legal action comes after comedian Sarah Silverman filed a similar lawsuit in July and an open letter, signed by authors like Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman, was published in the same month, demanding compensation from AI companies for using their work.

OpenAI responded by stating its respect for authors’ rights and its belief that authors should benefit from AI technology.

However, legal experts suggest that proving copyright infringement in this context may be challenging, and the lawsuit’s underlying concern seems to be the impact of AI on human-authored content.

Patrick Goold, a law expert, emphasised that the core issue is AI’s potential to displace human creative work, which should be addressed through broader discussions about AI’s impact on the creative arts.

This case is part of a series of lawsuits brought against developers of generative AI, reflecting growing concerns about the potential displacement of human labour in creative industries due to AI automation which leads to copyright violations.