Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI ask court to throw out AI copyright lawsuit
Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI want the court to dismiss a proposed class action that accuses the companies of scraping licensed code to build GitHub’s AI-powered Copilot tool, as reported earlier by Reuters. In a pair of filings filed in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday, Microsoft-owned GitHub and OpenAI say the allegations outlined in the lawsuit don̵[ads1]7;t measure up.
Things came to a head when programmer and lawyer Matthew Butterick teamed up with the legal team at the Joseph Saveri Law Firm to file a proposed class action last November, alleging that the tool relies on “software piracy on an unprecedented scale .” Butterick and his legal team later filed another proposed class action on behalf of two anonymous software developers on similar grounds, which Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI want dismissed.
As noted in the filing, Microsoft and GitHub say the complaint “fails for two inherent defects: lack of injury and lack of an otherwise viable claim,” while OpenAI similarly says the plaintiffs “allege a suite of claims that cannot be pleaded itself a violation of recognizable legal rights.” The companies argue that the plaintiffs are relying on “hypothetical events” to make their claim, and say they do not describe how they were personally harmed by the utility.
“Copilot does not retract anything from the publicly available open source content,” Microsoft and GitHub assert in the filing. “Rather, Copilot helps developers write code by generating suggestions based on what it has learned from all the knowledge gleaned from public code.”
In addition, Microsoft and GitHub go on to claim that the plaintiffs are “undermining open source principles” by seeking “a multi-billion dollar injunction and windfall” against “the software that they willingly share as open source.”
The court hearing to dismiss the lawsuit will take place in May, and Joseph Saveri Advokatfirma did not immediately respond to The Vergeits request for comment.
With other companies also looking at AI, Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI aren’t the only ones facing legal trouble. Earlier this month, the Butterick and Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed another lawsuit alleging that the AI art tools created by MidJourney, Stability AI and DeviantArt violate copyright laws by illegally scraping artists’ work from the internet. Getty Images is also suing Stability AI over claims that the company’s Stable Diffusion tool “illegally” scraped images from the site.