Elon Musk Sues OpenAI for Prioritizing Profit Over Open-Source Tech!

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/03/2024
Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against OpenAI and its CEO on Thursday, alleging that the company's collaboration with Microsoft went against its objective by prioritizing profit above developing open-source technology for the sake of mankind. They had previously disagreed, and Sam Altman had been tactful in his responses when questioned about Musk, even referring to the Tesla CEO as his idol.

Musk has issued a challenge by filing a lawsuit against OpenAI to make its research and technology open-source, restrict Microsoft using GPT-4, and stop Altman and Microsoft from profiting from the firm.

Kyle Lawrence, a business and securities lawyer with Falcon Rappaport & Berkman, said that he is attempting to impede their progress in order to match his own endeavors. "That is the modus operandi of many major tech conglomerates." They prosper by hindering other institutions' progress.

Musk is not an impartial party. Musk filed a lawsuit after he established his own artificial intelligence business last year. Musk spent a substantial amount of money into OpenAI when it was established but resigned from the company's board in 2018. Musk said that he departed to prevent a possible conflict of interest with Tesla and its artificial intelligence initiatives.

David Hoffman, a contract law specialist from the University of Pennsylvania, said that Musk's case against OpenAI seemed weak despite his grandstanding. Hoffman said that claiming a breach of contract without a documented contract would be exceedingly challenging.

Musk's argument is that OpenAI has deviated from its original agreement, however there is no formal agreement to support this claim. Hoffman said that the case is based on implicit contract allegations, which may be difficult to substantiate in a legal setting.

Musk's argument is based on an email from Altman, which seems to be more of an informal discussion rather than a formal contract, and the OpenAI's certificate of incorporation, which Musk did not sign and does not specify maintaining the firm as open source.

Since OpenAI is a non-profit organization, it will be difficult for the billionaire to argue that OpenAI's board has any fiduciary responsibilities towards him, as stated by Samuel Brunson, a nonprofit law specialist from Loyola University, to Business Insider.

Kyle Lawrence, a business and securities lawyer at Falcon Rappaport & Berkman, said that the billionaire's criticism of OpenAI for not acting in the "benefit of humanity" is more philosophical than a concrete legal issue.

"Who can definitively determine whether their actions are not contributing to the betterment of humanity?" Lawrence said. "They could request a billion dollars for their project, and it is uncertain if the method they use to obtain the funds aligns with their goal of benefiting humanity."

Although analysts deem Musk's lawsuit unlikely to win, OpenAI may nonetheless face consequences. Hoffman said that these lawsuits might reveal sensitive information and cause significant disruptions that may affect their daily activities.

Regardless if the litigation is outcome, the attention it receives might harm OpenAI's brand, adding to the controversy that arose when Altman was temporarily removed. Musk, being one of the wealthiest individuals globally, has the potential to engage OpenAI in legal disputes for an extended period, as stated by Lawrence.

If Musk were to prevail, it may establish a dangerous precedent. Brunson said that if Musk were to win this lawsuit, it would establish a negative precedent for non-profit organizations globally. "Many dissatisfied donors may begin requesting refunds, and most nonprofit organizations lack the financial capabilities of OpenAI."


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