Australia has filed the world’s first defamation lawsuit over ChatGPT

An Australian regional mayor says he may sue OpenAI if false claims by ChatGPT that he was jailed for defamation are untrue, in what would be the first defamation lawsuit against the automated texting service.

Brian Hood, who was elected mayor of Hepburn Shire, 120km (75 miles) north-west of Melbourne, last November, worried about his reputation when members of the public told him that ChatGPT was his naming him as the culprit in a foreign defamation scandal involving. a branch of the Reserve Bank of Australia in the early 2000s.

Hood worked for the subsidiary, Note Printing Australia, but was the man who tipped off authorities about paying bribes to foreign agencies to win printing contracts, and was never charged with a crime. lawyer who appeared for him.

Lawyers said they sent a letter of concern to ChatGPT manager OpenAI on March 21, which gave OpenAI 28 days to correct mistakes about their client or face a defamation lawsuit.

OpenAI, which is based in San Francisco, did not respond to Hood’s legal letter, the lawyers said. OpenAI did not respond to a Reuters email outside business hours.

If Hood is sued, it would be the first time that an owner of ChatGPT has been sued for claims made by the automated language that has become so popular since its release last year. Microsoft Corp integrated ChatGPT into its Bing search engine in February.

A Microsoft spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

“This could be a landmark moment in how this defamation law is applied to a new area of ‚Äč‚Äčartificial intelligence and advertising in the IT space,” said James Naughton, a partner at the law firm of Hood Gordon Legal, in Reuters.

“He’s an elected official, his reputation is central to his role,” Naughton said. Hood relied on a public record of shining a light on corporate misconduct, “so it makes a difference to him if people in his community use this”.

Australian damages are generally limited to A$400,000 ($269,360). Hood did not know the exact number of people who received false information about him – a prospect of large payouts – but the nature of the defamation was so serious that he could have received the maximum to A$200,000, Naughton said.

If Hood files a lawsuit, ChatGPT will be accused of giving users a false sense of fairness by failing to include footnotes, Naughton said.

“It’s very difficult for someone to look back and say ‘how did the algorithm get that answer?'” Naughton said. “It’s very vague.”

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