First ChatGPT Defamation Suit

Yeah … this definitely won’t be a problem for those who believe everything they read on the internet :flushed:

A regional Australian mayor said he may sue OpenAI if it does not correct ChatGPT’s false claims that he had served time in prison for bribery, in what would be the first defamation lawsuit against the automated text service.

Brian Hood, who was elected mayor of Hepburn Shire, 120km (75 miles) northwest of Melbourne, last November, became concerned about his reputation when members of the public told him ChatGPT had falsely named him as a guilty party in a foreign bribery scandal involving a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia in the early 2000s.

Hood did work for the subsidiary, Note Printing Australia, but was the person who notified authorities about payment of bribes to foreign officials to win currency printing contracts, and was never charged with a crime, lawyers representing him said.

The lawyers said they sent a letter of concern to ChatGPT owner OpenAI on March 21, which gave OpenAI 28 days to fix the errors about their client or face a possible defamation lawsuit.

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


Ars Technica had a bit of an update:

A spokesperson for Gordon Legal provided a statement to Ars confirming that responses to text prompts generated by ChatGPT 3.5 and 4 vary, with defamatory comments still currently being generated in ChatGPT 3.5.

Among “several false statements” generated by ChatGPT were falsehoods stating that Brian Hood "was accused of bribing officials in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam between 1999 and 2005, that he was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of false accounting under the Corporations Act in 2012, and that he authorised payments to a Malaysian arms dealer acting as a middleman to secure a contract with the Malaysian Government."

Because “all of these statements are false,” Gordon Legal “filed a Concerns Notice to OpenAI” that detailed the inaccuracy and demanded a rectification. “As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integrated into our society, the accuracy of the information provided by these services will come under close legal scrutiny," James Naughton, Hood’s lawyer, said, noting that if a defamation claim is raised, it “will aim to remedy the harm caused” to Hood and "ensure the accuracy of this software in his case.”


1 Like

Since a few of us follow Steve Lehto, I figured I would post his video from today. It’s a little bit of an update on the defamation suit.

The TOS of using ChatGPT is quite interesting. When you agree to use it, you are basically signing away your rights to ever sue if something goes awry. And if you feel the need it’s mandatory arbitration and limited to a 100.00 liability. This includes copyright issues as well. They disclaim being able to prevent infringement and you agreed to it.

But what if you’ve never signed up for the service and were still defamed?

It has to do with how the information is shared. Who signed up that did share it? That’s who Open AI is going to say to go after.
Same with copyright. If someone signs up and asks for information on welding and the Chat spits out a passage from a welding book verbatim … no problem. But, if that person shares it, that’s the issue they say lets them off the hook. It’s all on that user.

I see a lot of litigation ahead :flushed:

1 Like

Yes, and that litigation will likely be handled by other AI robots.

1 Like

But if a person asks chatbot for info and info is wrong, that’s on the chatbot, not the conveyor of the information to (in this case) the person involved. If I read a newspaper article or see a blog post, and there is some wrong info in it identifying the wrong person, it is the newspaper’s/blog’s fault, not mine, if I tell the person involved that they should check it out.