Yes, ChatGPT Plagiarizes Wine Blogs Too – Vinography

a wine blog
Anyone who has been following the news around generative AI will probably be aware that a bunch of famous authors have sued OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, claiming that ChatGPT has been trained on their copyrighted content and is then using their content in its responses to queries from users.
Well, as of this week, I can tell you that I know exactly how they feel.
Two days ago I got an e-mail from a winery that I know well (and like enough to remain on their e-mail list). The subject line was “Umbrian Grace: The Wines of Paolo Bea.”
Hmm, I thought. That’s a funny coincidence.
Then I opened the e-mail and to my surprise, found my own words staring back at me.
“Oh,” I thought, “they’ve excerpted a bit of content from my recent article about Paolo Bea,” and I scrolled down to reach the point where I expected them to give Vinography credit.
But then they didn’t.
Here’s the e-mail with the content highlighted that was word-for-word lifted from my article on Bea:
I sat there in shock for a minute, and not at the misspelling in the final sentence. And then, since I was friendly with the winery owner, I sent him an e-mail politely asking if he was aware that the latest marketing e-mail his brand had sent seemed to have plagiarized my site.
That’s when it got interesting.
A response arrived within the hour from the winery owner, who was almost literally knee-deep in harvest and not at all aware of the e-mail that had just gone out, but who vowed to get to the bottom of it.
Then shortly thereafter, I received a very apologetic (horrified, even) e-mail from his marketing guy explaining that while it was not at all his regular practice, he had decided to use ChatGPT to generate content for this particular e-mail. Specifically ChatGPT 3.5 with the KeyMate web browsing plug-in. Because these folks aren’t strangers, I’m taking them at their word on this without being presented any hard evidence to back up the story.
In any case, after telling ChatGPT he wanted it to pretend to be a well-traveled wine expert this marketing guy apparently asked it to “write a consumer-friendly message about the history of the Paolo Bea wines” and a few seconds later he was staring at some choice content that he happily pasted into his e-mail software.
And that folks, was just the reminder I needed to adjust my server to ensure that ChatGPT and other AI crawlers can’t access my site. It’s something I should have done months ago, but just never got around to doing.
I offer this as a cautionary tale for some and perhaps a minor amusement for others. I certainly don’t hold anything against the winery (that is remaining unnamed for that reason) or the poor marketing guy who was playing with new technology while trying to do his job.
But I also do have just a slight bit more sympathy for George R.R. Martin and Stephen King at the moment. It’s a brave new world, and we’re all trying to figure out how to make sure it doesn’t eat us alive.
Image created with the help of MidJourney AI.
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Much hay has been made in recent weeks as the wine world grapples with the implications of ChatGPT specifically, and
Few things have more currency in the technology arena of popular culture than artificial intelligence. From where I sit, a
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