OpenAI threatens legal action against the developer of a free GPT4-powered chatbot for sneaking past its paywall

The owner of GPT4free, a free GPT4 AI chatbot, could be in some legal hot water as OpenAI has threatened to take him to court. Why’s that, you wonder? Because his chatbot lets you use ChatGPT4 (opens in new tab)without paying for it. 

GPT4free circumvents ChatGPT4’s $20-a-month paywall (opens in new tab) by pulling queries from sites that use ChatGPT4’s API (opens in new tab), like Quora and You.com. It piggybacks answers from sites that pay to use the API licenses. 

Developer Xtekky told Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) that OpenAI sent him a letter demanding he take down his Github project in five days or face legal consequences. However, the developer doesn’t think he’s liable for what others do with scripts from his GitHub repo. Furthermore, he said OpenAI shouldn’t go after him since he isn’t connecting directly to ChatGPT4’s API. His scripts just query the sites that do, and OpenAI should contact those sites instead of targeting him.

“OpenAI could also reach out to the sites and warn/notify them and in collaboration come to me and do a takedown, but it seems that this solely comes from OpenAI, and they basically claim that I am directly attacking them,” Xtekky said.

As Tom’s Hardware points out, every time you run a query on GPT4free, the sites that pay for an API license from OpenAI are essentially doing the work for free, missing out on potential ad revenue from you visiting the site.

“One could achieve the same just opening tabs of the sites. I can open tabs of Phind, You, etc. on my browser and spam requests,” Xtekky said. “My repo just does it in a simpler way.” He says he has removed scripts that use the sites phind.com, ora.sh, and writesonic.com at their request. 

“I believe they [OpenAI] contacted me before to pressure me into deleting the repo myself,” said Xtekky. “But the right way should be an actual official DMCA, through GitHub.”

Xtekky also said that since his code has already spread across the internet, deletion of his Github repo would be “insignificant.” He plans to move his chatbot to a different domain and rebrand it as “gf4.” The Github for GPT4free is still up and running for now.