Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI have been sued by the programmer as well as attorney Matthew Butterick for breaking several guidelines, copyright rules or laws, which may lead to damages in excess of $9 billion.
The claim claims it is because GitHub Copilot(opens in a new tab) that is created to convert natural language to code, is in violation of the conditions of open source licenses due to being trained with machine learning based on thousands of lines software written by human programmer.
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BleepingComputer(opens in new tab) explains that open source licenses such as GPL, Apache, and MIT, require attribution of the author’s name, and defining particular copyrights.
GitHub Copilot copyright
One user made a post on Twitter(opens the Twitter account in a a new tab) after going through GitHub Copilot for a “see if it encodes code from repositories [with] restrictive licenses”. They discovered code they wrote at an earlier company “that has a license allowing its use only for free games and requiring attaching the license.”
“It appears Microsoft is profiting from others’ work by disregarding the conditions of the underlying open-source licenses and other legal requirements,” The law firm based in San Francisco that represents Butterick provides more information on its website.
This Class action file which was filed on the 3rd of November 2022, provides details of the extent to which GitHub as well as OpenAI have committed violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) 3.6 million times.