Press Release

Cooley Secures Early Victory for Meta Platforms in AI Class Action

First-of-its-kind decision concerning copyright claims against generative AI text-based tool
December 8, 2023

Los Angeles – December 8, 2023 – Cooley secured an early victory on behalf of Meta Platforms in a class action lawsuit regarding Meta’s generative artificial intelligence tool – Large Language Model Meta AI (LLaMA). Lawyers Bobby Ghajar, Mark Weinstein, Kathleen Hartnett, Judd Lauter and Colette Ghazarian led the Cooley team advising Meta.

Large language models (LLMs) are a category of AI technologies that can process and produce human-like text. LLMs are typically “trained” using a large and diverse amount of publicly available textual content, allowing them to understand the relationships between words and concepts.

On July 7, 2023, authors Richard Kadrey, Sarah Silverman and Christopher Golden filed a class action complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that use of their books to train and generate output using LLaMA gave rise to claims for direct and vicarious copyright infringement, violation of the copyright management information provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), unfair competition under California state law, unjust enrichment and negligence. The claims are similar to class action claims in separate pending lawsuits filed against OpenAI, Google and Anthropic.

On September 18, 2023, Meta filed a motion to dismiss the vicarious and derivative work copyright claims, the DMCA claim and all of the state law claims. On November 20, US District Judge Vince Chhabria entered an order granting Meta’s motion to dismiss in its entirety. The court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the LLaMA language models themselves were infringing derivative works, calling this argument “nonsensical,” and also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that every output of the LLaMA language models was an infringing derivative work, as there was no allegation that the contents of any output recast, transformed or adapted the plaintiffs’ books. In addition, the court rejected the DMCA and state law claims and granted the plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint – except as to the negligence claim, which the court dismissed with prejudice.

The decision is one of the first by a US federal court to directly address copyright infringement claims against LLMs and their output.

The case is Richard Kadrey, et al. v. Meta Platforms, Inc. before the US District Court for the Northern District of California (3:23-cv-03417), consolidated with Michael Chabon, et al. v. Meta Platforms, Inc.  (3:23-cv-04662-VC).

The victory earned the Cooley team a Litigator of the Week accolade in The American Lawyer’s Litigation Daily column.

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