The role of AI in the new media landscape

Written by Tom Synott | February 27, 2024


Following on from our recent series of blogs examining some of the challenges posed by artificial intelligence (‘AI’) (here, here), it seems AI is on track to impact nearly every aspect of the creative industries. As with all emerging technologies, it has unsurprisingly faced a number of legal challenges along the way (and, whilst these have been initiated by global companies with big budgets, the impact of these cases are likely to be felt by all our clients, regardless of their size).

New York Times legal proceedings against Open AI

Alongside the more widely discussed case lodged by Getty Images against StabilityAI, the New York Times (the “NYT”) has also recently joined the fray, filing its own proceedings against OpenAI and Microsoft (collectively, the “Defendants”) for using its copyright content to train the programme.

This case is interesting in particular because it raises new, as yet unargued grounds in the context of legal challenges to AI: in particular that the Defendants’ use of NYT content is damaging its reputation. It is a novel argument and one that makes sense, particularly given the NYT’s hard-won reputation for quality journalism. This particular ground has been argued in the context of so-called AI “hallucinations” (where a particular platform produces plausible, yet totally incorrect, answers to a particular question).

This is a novel argument and this case will no doubt be closely watched by those in the media industry seeking to safeguard their archives of content from being commercially exploited by third parties without their consent. The NYT has expressly raised this point; namely that because it operates behind a paywall, the scraping of its articles by the Defendants has caused it commercial loss.

The Defendants have raised a preliminary defence under the so-called “fair use” doctrine which allows otherwise copyright content to be exploited without the rightsholder’s permission in certain limited circumstances. It will be interesting how the Courts way this defence, particularly in light of the fact that the majority of AI platforms will ultimately be trying to earn a profit from their services in the years ahead. Stay tuned for further case updates in the months ahead…

Briffa comment

Here at Briffa, the team benefits from over 25 years’ experience in intellectual property and information technology and is well placed to assist you with this rapidly developing area of law. If you need any further information in this regard, please do feel free to get in touch with us via


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