Google is accused of illegally using copyrighted content and stealing the personal information of millions of Americans to train its AI products.
The allegations were made in a proposed class action lawsuit in San Francisco on Tuesday by eight people, who say they represent the millions of Internet users affected.
If Google is found guilty of violating federal privacy and consumer protection laws, it could face at least $5 billion in damages.
Because we care. Marketers are widely encouraged to embrace AI and implement technologies like ChatGPT and Bard into their strategies. However, if AI products are developed using illegally harvested content and data, this could prove problematic, as it runs the risk of potential copyright issues.
What has Google allegedly done? The appellants allege that Google has:
- Illegal acquisition of digital content created and shared by millions of Americans.
- I used this private property to train his AI technology, including his chatbot, Bard.
- Stolen « virtually the entirety of our digital footprint, » including « creative and copywriting work » to develop its AI product catalog.
The eight plaintiffs accused Google of taking a variety of content they shared on social media without permission, from photos on dating sites to playlists saved on Spotify to videos uploaded to TikTok.
One of the plaintiffs, described as a best-selling author from Texas, more specifically accused Google of copying a book they wrote in its entirety to train Bard.
Who sues Google? There are eight plaintiffs who remain anonymous and are known only by their initials.
The lawsuit was filed by law firm Clarkson against Google, its parent company Alphabet and DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence subsidiary. If the Clarkson law firm sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same firm that filed a similar lawsuit against OpenAI last month.
What do the appellants want? The plaintiffs want Google to give its users the ability to opt out of its « unlawful data collection. » They also ask the search engine to delete its existing catalog of data, or else they say Google should pay the owners of that content a « fair compensation. »
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What did the appellants say? Ryan Clarkson, managing partner of the law firm Clarkson, released a statement:
- “Google has been collecting this data in secret for years, without warning anyone, much less with anyone’s consent.
- « Google doesn’t own the Internet, it doesn’t own our creative works, it doesn’t own our expressions of who we are, pictures of our families and children, or anything else simply because we share them online. »
This was said by Tim Giordano, an attorney who works on behalf of the plaintiffs at the Clarkson law firm Cnn:
- « Google needs to understand that ‘publicly available’ never means free to use for any purpose.
- « Our personal information and data are our property, and they are valuable, and no one has the right to take and use them for any purpose. »
What did Google say? Google denied the claims and described the lawsuit as « baseless ». In a statement, Halimah DeLaine Prado, general counsel of Google, said:
- “We have been clear for years that we use data from public sources, such as information published on the open web and public datasets, to train the AI models powering services like Google Translate, responsibly and in a in line with our AI principles. »
- « US law supports using public information to create new beneficial uses, and we look forward to refuting these unsubstantiated claims. »