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Letter from Authors Guild President Maya Shanbhag Lang About Class-Action Suit Against OpenAI

Photo of Maya Shanbhag Lang next to Authors Guild logo on a white background

Dear Members,

I’m writing to let you know that the Authors Guild has organized a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. We did so because we feel this is a necessary and crucial step to protect authors’ rights and the writing profession more broadly.

We do not take this action lightly. Our legal team, which has particular expertise in copyright law, has been in conversation with AI companies about the need to license books for AI training. We described these efforts in our open letter, which I’m indebted to so many of you for supporting.

The Guild has spent years researching this issue. We met with tech executives, Congressional representatives, data scientists, and partner organizations. We would not pursue legal action unless we felt it was the best way forward. As fellow author and plaintiff George Saunders put it, we want “the tech world to make good on its frequent declarations that it is on the side of creativity.”

Our suit is being handled by the law firms Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams, and Sheppard LLP. They have organized a case focused on fiction writers. I want to be very clear about what this means. We are pursuing protections and compensation for all writers, from poets to memoirists to biographers. If you write nonfiction, as I do, please know that we have your back. This fight is for authors of every genre.

I also wish to clarify that the Authors Guild is not against AI. We recognize that it can be a valuable resource. But it should be a tool human beings wield, not one that is weaponized against us. This suit is really about stopping wholesale theft of our work.

We will keep you updated on the case. In the meantime, know that we are working hard on your behalf. You, our members, inspire us. Keep writing. The world needs your work now more than ever.


Maya Shanbhag Lang
President, The Authors Guild

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