OpenAI announces new publishing deal as race to license content hots up

The United Kingdom-based daily newspaper the Financial Times (FT) and OpenAI, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) research company, announced a new “strategic partnership.” 

On April 29, the agreement will see the firms leverage AI to develop new products and features for FT readers.

Under the partnership, users of OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT AI chatbot will also gain access to select summaries, quotes and links to FT articles.

This integration of FT content into ChatGPT was done with the goal of enhancing the chatbot’s access to real-time, credible information — a topic that has been rife with controversy in the AI and media space.

OpenAI was hit with a privacy complaint on April 29 in Austria after a local advocacy group argued that its chatbot was providing inaccurate information and potentially breaching EU data laws.

The FT said earlier in the year it also became a customer of ChatGPT’s enterprise version, to which all of its employees have access for “creativity and productivity gains.”

OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman has been reported to be actively pushing the use of ChatGPT’s enterprise offerings to Fortune 500 companies.

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John Riddin, the CEO of the FT Group, called it an “important” agreement in a number of ways including being at the forefront of how “people access and use information.”

“It’s right, of course, that AI platforms pay publishers for the use of their material… it’s clearly in the interests of users that these products contain reliable sources.”

It i one of many recent media-related partnerships OpenAI has embarked on in the past six months. In March, the AI developer swooped up partnerships with French publisher Le Monde and Spanish Prisa Media to provide French and Spanish news content to ChatGPT.

In December 2023, OpenAI announced a partnership with German media giant Axel Springer, and at the beginning of 2024, it also revealed that it was in talks with major media companies in the U.S. to secure news content licensing, including the likes of CNN, Fox and Time. 

Although the company has been successfully partnering with media giants across the world, it has also faced lawsuits from media outlets.

In December 2023, the New York Times opened a case against OpenAI, alleging that it partook in unauthorized use of millions of NYT articles as a means to train its chatbots.

The lawsuit remains open, although both involved parties have moved to dismiss the claims posed by the other since it began.

Nonetheless, OpenAI’s recent moves, including a partnership with the American Journalism Project in an effort to support local news initiatives, as well as with the Associated Press, point to the company’s desire to gain appropriate permissions in the media sphere. 

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