Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI have been sued by programmer and attorney Matthew Butterick for violating various policies, copyright terms and laws that could bring in damages of more than $9 billion.
The claim claims that GitHub copilot (opens in new tab)designed to translate natural language into code violates open source license terms by being trained in machine learning using billions of lines of existing code written by human programmers.
BleepingComputer (opens in new tab) explains that open source licenses such as GPL, Apache, and MIT require the author’s name to be listed and certain copyrights to be defined.
GitHub Copilot copyright
One user took Twitter (opens in new tab) after going to GitHub Copilot to “see if it encodes code from repositories” [with] restrictive permits”. They found code they had written at a previous employer “that has a license that can only be used for free games and that the license must be attached.”
“It appears that Microsoft is taking advantage of the work of others by ignoring the terms of its underlying open source licenses and other legal requirements,” explains the San Francisco-based law firm that Butterick represents in its statement. webpage.
The Class action complaint filedated November 3, 2022, describes how GitHub and OpenAI have violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 3.6 million times.
This covers three Section 1202 violations for each of Copilot’s 1.2 million users. The three violations involve distributing the licensed material without attribution, a copyright notice, or license terms.
“At a minimum legal damages of $2,500 per violation, that translates to: [$9 billion]Butterick’s law firm claims in the filing.
That’s a lot of money, considering Microsoft acquired GitHub in 2018 for $7.5 billion.