Article: The lawsuit that could rewrite the rules of AI copyright

The Verge report

Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI are being sued for allegedly violating copyright law by reproducing open-source code using AI. But the suit could have a huge impact on the wider world of artificial intelligence.

Microsoft, its subsidiary GitHub, and its business partner OpenAI have been targeted in a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that the companies’ creation of AI-powered coding assistant GitHub Copilot relies on “software piracy on an unprecedented scale.” The case is only in its earliest stages but could have a huge effect on the broader world of AI, where companies are making fortunes training software on copyright-protected data.

Copilot, which was unveiled by Microsoft-owned GitHub in June 2021, is trained on public repositories of code scraped from the web, many of which are published with licenses that require anyone reusing the code to credit its creators. Copilot has been found to regurgitate long sections of licensed code without providing credit — prompting this lawsuit that accuses the companies of violating copyright law on a massive scale.