Authors File Lawsuit Against Nvidia for Alleged Copyright Infringement in AI Training

In a legal escalation within the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) development, three authors have initiated a lawsuit against graphics processing unit (GPU) giant Nvidia, alleging unauthorized usage of their copyrighted works in training its AI platform NeMo. The lawsuit, proposed as a class action, was filed by authors Brian Keene, Abdi Nazemian, and Stewart O’Nan in a San Francisco federal court on March 8, 2024.

According to Reuters, the works in question include Keene’s 2008 novel ‘Ghost Walk’, Nazemian’s 2019 novel ‘Like a Love Story’, and O’Nan’s 2007 novella ‘Last Night at the Lobster’. These works were allegedly utilized as data input for Nvidia’s NeMo AI platform, described by Nvidia as a toolkit for conversational AI and natural language processing, enabling users to create generative AI efficiently.

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The authors assert that their books were among approximately 196,640 books utilized to train NeMo to simulate ordinary written language. Furthermore, they highlight an incident in October 2023 when their works were removed from the platform for ‘reported copyright infringement’, which they interpret as Nvidia acknowledging the violation.

The lawsuit seeks damages from Nvidia, the amount of which remains unspecified, on behalf of individuals in the United States whose works were utilized without permission for NeMo training over the past three years.

This legal action unfolds amidst a broader global landscape marked by increasing tensions between intellectual property right holders and companies involved in AI model development. Similar lawsuits involving entities such as Microsoft and OpenAI have previously drawn attention to the complexities surrounding copyright infringement in AI training.

Meanwhile, Nvidia has experienced a surge in demand for its products, propelling its stocks to unprecedented heights. Recently, it became the third-largest company globally, trailing behind Microsoft and Apple, with a market capitalization surpassing $2.3 trillion.

The case against Nvidia mirrors previous legal disputes where AI companies have been accused of training their models on copyrighted material. Notably, OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, and its major investor Microsoft faced lawsuits from the New York Times and Pulitzer-winning authors for similar allegations.

In other regions, such as India, discussions around AI copyright infringement have prompted calls for amendments to Information Technology Rules to safeguard against such violations and ensure fair compensation for rights holders. Some companies have opted for licensing deals to use data legitimately, as exemplified by Google's $60 million per year agreement with Reddit for real-time access to its data for AI training, illustrating ongoing efforts to navigate the complex intersection of AI development and copyright law.