On Thursday, Microsoft announced that it would provide legal protection to customers sued for copyright infringement over content generated by the company’s AI systems. The new policy, called Copilot Copyright Commitment, is an expansion of Microsoft’s existing intellectual property indemnification coverage, Reuters reports.
Microsoft’s announcement comes as generative AI tools like ChatGPT raise concerns about reproducing copyrighted content without proper attribution. Microsoft has invested heavily in AI with products like GitHub Copilot and Bing Chat that can generate native code, text and images on demand. Its AI model achieves these capabilities by scraping publicly available data from the Internet without explicit permission from copyright holders.
By providing legal protection, Microsoft aims to give customers the confidence to deploy its AI systems without worrying about potential copyright issues. The policy covers damages and legal fees, providing consumers with an additional layer of protection as generative AI is rapidly adopted throughout the technology industry.
“When customers are asked if they can use Microsoft’s Copilot services and use the output they create without worrying about copyright claims, we give a straightforward answer: yes, you can, and if you’re challenged on copyright grounds, we Accept potential liability. Legal risks involved,” Microsoft writes.
Under the new commitment, Microsoft will pay any legal damages to customers using Copilot, Bing Chat and other AI services as long as they use built-in railings.
“Specifically, if a third party sues a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using Microsoft’s Copilots or output generated by them, we will defend the customer and pay any adverse judgment or settlement resulting from the lawsuit, as long as the customer owns the railings we build into our products. and used content filters,” Microsoft writes.
With the rise of generative AI, the technology industry is grappling with questions of proper attribution or licensing of copyrighted source material used in training AI models. Legal experts say these thorny copyright issues will be decided by future legislation and court cases, some of which are already underway.
In fact, Microsoft has already sued the Copilot technology. Last November, the Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI over GitHub Copilot’s alleged copyright infringement stemming from its scraping of publicly available code repositories. Currently, the status of that lawsuit is unknown, and Ars Technica could not confirm whether the case is still active using public records.