- Legal institutions
- related documents
- Companies say claims aren’t specific enough, citing a fair use defense
- Anonymous Complainants Claim OpenAI and Microsoft Misuse Copyrighted Source Code
(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp, GitHub Inc and OpenAI Inc told a federal court in San Francisco that a proposed class action lawsuit for improperly monetizing open source code to train their artificial intelligence systems could not proceed .
the companies said on Thursday seeking filings that the complaint, filed by a group of anonymous copyright holders, did not sufficiently elaborate on their claims and that GitHub’s Copilot system, which suggests lines of code to programmers, used enough of the source code.
A spokesperson for GitHub, an online platform for hosting tokens, said on Friday that the company was “committed to innovating responsibly with Copilot from the start” and that its decision is “a testament to our belief in the work we’ve done to make it happen. »
OpenAI representatives and the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Two anonymous plaintiffs, seeking to represent a class of people who own copyright markup on GitHub, Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI lawsuit in November. They said the companies had formed Copilot with code from GitHub repositories without following the terms of the open source license, and that Copilot had illegally reproduced the code.
Open source software may be modified or freely distributed by all users under the license, which generally requires attribution to the original creator, their copyright notice, and a copy of the license, depending on the trial.
“Copilot’s goal is to replace a lot of open source by taking it and keeping it inside a GitHub-controlled paywall,” the complaint states. “This violates licenses that open source programmers have chosen to monetize their code despite GitHub’s pledge never to do so. »
Microsoft and OpenAI said Thursday that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case because they failed to argue that they suffered specific harms as a result of the companies’ actions.
The companies also said the lawsuit did not identify the specific copyrighted works they misused or the contracts they violated.
Microsoft also said in its filing that the copyright claims “would conflict with the fair use doctrine,” which permits unauthorized use of copyrighted works in certain situations. Both companies cited a 2021 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Google’s use of Oracle source code to build its Android operating system was transformative fair use.
Microsoft announced on Monday that it will invest billions of dollars in popular generative artificial intelligence company OpenAI, which it first backed with $1 billion in 2019.
The source code case is Doe v. GitHub Inc, US District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 4: 22-cv-06823.
For the Plaintiffs: Joseph Saveri, Cadeo Zerpoli and Travis Manfredi of Joseph Saveri Law Firm; Matthew Patrick
For Microsoft: Annette Hearst, William Oxley and Alyssa Karidis of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
For OpenAI: Michael Jacobs, Joseph Gratz and Tiffany Cheung of Morrison & Foerster
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