New MS AI will indemnify you if you violate copyright laws whilst using it
Technology for Lawyers
Published: October 13, 2023
Well, so: Microsoft has put billions into Open AI (ChatGPT) and Open AI is getting sued by a plethora of A-list artists for copyright violations and Microsoft is also developing its own chatbot based on Open AI’s architecture, called Copilot, and so Microsoft knows that it will be sued by numerous A-list artists for copyright infringement so—(deep breath)
Microsoft announced an indemnification program for anyone who gets sued for copyright infringement using their new AI chatbot, Copilot, which is in the process of being integrated into MS’s various productivity suites.
In fact, Copilot was announced as I sat writing this. Anyway.
Specifically, on Sept. 7, a Microsoft press release stated: “Some customers are concerned about the risk of IP infringement claims if they use the output produced by generative AI. This is understandable, given recent public inquiries by authors and artists regarding how their own work is being used in conjunction with AI models and services.”
MS is calling this their “Copilot Copyright Commitment.” CCC?
The company said that “it is critical for authors to retain control of their rights under copyright law and earn a healthy return on their creations.”
It goes on: “if a third party sues a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using Microsoft’s Copilots or the output they generate, we will defend the customer and pay the amount of any adverse judgments or settlements that result from the lawsuit.”
There are, of course, important conditions and carve-outs.
For one, this attaches only to paid versions. The customer can’t disable existing filters and guardrails, and the customer can’t have tried to generate infringing output (assumedly by providing input that the customer does not have rights to use in the first place).
The release goes on to say that the CCC extends existing MS policy into Copilot: Specifically to Copilot as it will exist in MS 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and GitHub.
Microsoft said in the release that it has “incorporated filters and other technologies that are designed to reduce the likelihood that Copilots return infringing content.”
Like always, we’ll see what happens.