Could a court really order the destruction of ChatGPT? The New York Times thinks so, and it may be right


On Dec. 27, 2023, The New York Times filed a lawsuit against OpenAI alleging that the company committed willful copyright infringement through its generative AI tool ChatGPT. The Times claimed both that ChatGPT was unlawfully trained on vast amounts of text from its articles and that ChatGPT’s output contained language directly taken from its articles.

To remedy this, the Times asked for more than just money: It asked a federal court to order the “destruction” of ChatGPT.

If granted, this request would force OpenAI to delete its trained large language models, such as GPT-4, as well as its training data, which would prevent the company from rebuilding its technology.

This prospect is alarming to the 100 million people who use ChatGPT every week. And it raises two questions that interest me as a law professor. First, can a federal court actually order the destruction of ChatGPT? And second, if it can, will it?

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