Microsoft on Thursday said it will assume legal responsibility if customers get sued for copyright infringement while using the company’s AI Copilot services. The protection extends to commercial customers only meaning this commitment is not applicable to users of Bing Chat which is a free version.
In a blog post authored by Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Hossein Nowbar, CVP and Chief Legal Officer, the company said it will defend customers in infringement cases against the works created by Microsoft AI products. Microsoft said the policy is an extension of its overall AI customer commitments, announced earlier this year.
Microsoft to indemnify AI product customers
Microsoft is betting big on GenAI, continuing on its investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI. It has incorporated the technology in a wide array of its products, including cloud services, Search and enterprise productivity software Microsoft Office. Beginning with GitHub Copilot in June 2022, which lets people write code, Copilot is now in Windows 11, the Edge browser, Teams, Outlook, and other enterprise offerings from Microsoft. It covers services like Bing Chat Enterprise, but as Microsoft’s blog post suggests, noncommercial users of services like free AI-powered Bing couldn’t turn to the company for legal defence.
The Redmond software giant said it chose to indemnify users for three reasons: it wants to stand behind customers when using its services; it understands the concern of copyright holders; and it has built guardrails against the possibility of results infringing on copyrighted material.
“Like all new technologies, AI raises legal questions that our industry will need to work through with a wide array of stakeholders. This step represents a pledge to our customers that the copyright liability of our products is ours to shoulder, not theirs,” the blog post read.
The company said it is bullish about the AI products and their uses but has acknowledged the users of AI tools should not worry about copyright claims.