Microsoft has made a fairly seismic move by confirming it will protect users of its Copilot AI tool against any claims of IP infringement.
The announcement, part of Microsoft's Copilot Copyright Commitment, could be one of the most important events to affect the AI industry, not to mention ruffling a few feathers.
In a blog post, the company confirmed: “if you are challenged on copyright grounds, we will assume responsibility for the potential legal risks involved.”
Is AI safe from copyright?
By the looks of its statement, Microsoft seems pretty sure that the content Copilot produces is clear from any copyright infringements, which it backs up by proclaiming that a series of filters and “other technologies” reduce the likelihood that the generative AI returns infringing content.
In its blog post announcing the change, Microsoft added that, “...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, as long as the customer used the guardrails and content filters we have built into our products.”
Microsoft notes that paying customers of its Copilot should not have to face such issues and that it will stand behind them, effectively taking on their problem.
In terms of what exactly is covered, the company says that “paid versions of Microsoft commercial Copilot services and Bing Chat Enterprise” are the focus of the Copilot Copyright Commitment, including Microsoft 365 Copilot across its range of office apps. The backing also extends to GitHub Copilot, given that the coding platform is Microsoft-owned.
How the industry reacts remains to be seen, however given that Google’s equivalent GenAI solution costs the same as its Microsoft counterpart across its range of office software, Microsoft (for now at least) looks to be the best option with this significant update.
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