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Microsoft Seeks to Dismiss Parts of Suit Filed by The New York Times

Microsoft filed a motion in federal court on Monday that seeks to dismiss parts of a lawsuit brought by The New York Times Company.

The Times sued Microsoft and its partner OpenAI on Dec. 27, accusing the two companies of infringing on its copyrights by using its articles to train A.I. technologies like the online chatbot ChatGPT. Chatbots compete with the news outlet as a source of reliable information, the lawsuit said.

In its motion, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Microsoft argued that large language models, or L.L.M.s — the technologies that drive chatbots — did not supplant the market for news articles and other materials they were trained on.

The tech giant compared L.L.M.s to videocassette recorders, arguing that both are allowed under the law. “Despite The Times’s contentions, copyright law is no more an obstacle to the L.L.M. than it was to the VCR (or the player piano, copy machine, personal computer, internet or search engine),” the motion read.

In the late 1970s, movie studios sued Sony over its Betamax VCR, arguing that it would allow people to illegally copy movies and television shows. But the courts ultimately found that making these copies for personal viewing was fair use under the law.

Microsoft’s motion was similar to one made by OpenAI last week. Microsoft said three parts of the suit should be dismissed in part because The Times did not show actual harm.

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