Turns Out Copying Other People’s Stuff Willy-Nilly Might Be Illegal

Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2023 by Ned Bellavance

Featured in this episode of Chaos Lever

There’s a lawsuit in the District Court of Northern California against Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI regarding Copilot and its OpenAI Codex model. The suit alleges that the defendants have violated copyright, contract, privacy, and business laws through code that was ingested and regurgitated by Copilot with absolutely no attribution.

While many of the initial allegations were thrown out by the judge, two are still standing. The first is that the Codex is in breach of software licensing terms and the second is that the reproduced code lacks the proper copyright attribution required by the DMCA.

This is just the first step in what I am sure will be an extremely long and drawn out legal battle that may even end up in front of the Supreme Court. The problem, of course, is that GitHub Copilot and all other AI projects aren’t exactly waiting to see how things pan out, instead choosing to race forward at breakneck speed and deal with the legal fallout later, if ever.

The horse is truly well and out of the barn and now we’re arguing over what type of hinges were on the open door. (Ed.- I like brushed nickel.)