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| 1 minute read

AI copyright commitment announcement

Microsoft has announced it will take responsibility if its customers are sued for copyright infringement for using its Copilots or the outputs they generate.  

The specific wording of the commitment was released earlier this month (scroll down to Copilot Copyright Commitment in the link below).  

Here are a few initial thoughts on the approach and wording:

  • It's a really positive step and addresses a key risk that has been holding enterprises back from adopting Gen AI in their businesses and can be seen as a differentiator in the enterprise AI market.
  • Microsoft must be pretty confident that the infringement risk is low. I think it is probably lower for Copilot than for the free/public versions of Gen AI tools because enterprise users are more likely to use Copilot to supercharge their own workflows (company data visualisation, summarising their own text, converting their own text to slides, answering queries from company data) than generate (what they think is) brand new material via bespoke prompts.
  • The commitment doesn't address the other IP risk to enterprises, that IP/copyright may not in fact subsist in generated content. This is an ongoing issue that is not settled, with the US Copyright Office continuing to deny protection to art generated by AI.
  • The commitment builds on the current indemnity Microsoft offers to commercial customers, clarifying that it covers Copilot outputs too. Therefore the same limitations and features of the current indemnity apply also, including sole remedy and scope of losses (final damages or settlement amounts, not wider business losses). But it does mean the indemnity will (typically) be uncapped and not subject to exclusion of indirect/consequential loss.
  • Microsoft has added new conditions which on their face don't appear overly problematic, but interestingly, trade mark infringements aren't covered, presumably because Microsoft reasonably expects businesses to have done brand clearance on brand assets created using Copilot before using them.
As customers ask whether they can use Microsoft’s Copilot services and the output they generate without worrying about copyright claims, we are providing a straightforward answer: yes, you can.


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