Microsoft’s GitHub co-pilot sued for ‘software piracy on an unprecedented scale’

“Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot is being sued a class action which claims that the AI ​​product is committing software piracy on an unprecedented scale”, reports IT professional.

Programmer/designer Matthew Butterick filed the case Thursday in San Francisco, saying it was on behalf of millions of GitHub users potentially affected by the $10-a-month Copilot service:

The lawsuit seeks to challenge the legality of GitHub Copilot, as well as the OpenAI Codex that powers the AI ​​tool, and was filed against GitHub, its owner Microsoft, and OpenAI….” By training their AI systems on public GitHub repositories (although based on their public statements, possibly much more), we argue that the defendants violated the legal rights of a large number of creators who posted code or other works under certain open source licenses on GitHub,” Butterick said.

These licenses include a set of 11 popular open source licenses that all require author name and copyright attribution. This includes the MIT License, the GNU General Public License, and the Apache License. The case claimed that Copilot was violating and removing these licenses offered by thousands, if not millions, of software developers, and therefore committing software piracy on an unprecedented scale.

Copilot, which runs entirely on Microsoft Azure, often simply replicates code that can be traced back to open source repositories or licensees, according to the lawsuit. The code never contains attributions to the underlying authors, which is in violation of the licenses. “It’s not fair, allowed, or justified. Rather, Copilot’s goal is to replace a huge swath of open source by taking it and keeping it inside a GitHub-controlled paywall. ..” Additionally, the case stated that the defendants also violated GitHub’s terms of service and privacy policies, DMCA code 1202 which prohibits the removal of copyright management information, and the California Consumer Privacy Act.
The lawsuit also accuses GitHub of monetizing code from open-source programmers, “despite GitHub’s pledge never to do so.”

And Butterick supported IT Professional that “AI systems are not exempt from the law… If companies like Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI choose to ignore the law, they shouldn’t expect us, the public, to stand still .” Butterick thinks AI can only uplift humanity if it’s “fair and ethical for everyone. If it’s not…it will just become another way for the privileged few to profit from the work of the greatest.” number”.

Reached for comment, GitHub pointed out IT Professional to their Monday announcement that next year suggested code snippets will come with the ability to identify when it matches another publicly available code – or a code to which it is similar.

The article adds that this lawsuit “comes at a time when Microsoft is considering developing the Copilot technology for use in similar programs for other job categories, such as office work, cybersecurity or video game design. , according a Bloomberg report.”