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Microsoft Introduces Copilot Copyright Commitment

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is gradually becoming an integral part of our daily lives. Aside from the widespread adoption of the technology by the private sector, both individually and commercially, the government of Qatar has introduced AI to assist customers with e-government services (Hukoomi)[1], to predict the performance of the education system[2], to streamline the user experiences of public utility customers[3], to create an AI Digital Contact Centre platform suitable for all organisations that want to modernise their Contact Centre Operations in the country[4], and to simultaneously assist multiple financial centre customers by using interactive Chatbots at the Qatar Financial Centre.[5]   

Perhaps one of the most publicised and recognisable AI technology publicly available is OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Generative Pre-trained Transformer (“GPT”) technology is a language model designed to produce human-like text based on user input and instructions. Equally, many graphic design and art AI programs have also been introduced recently. Also, Microsoft recently announced the introduction of its AI Copilots which will be available from November 1, 2023. The Copilots are designed to increase efficiency and fuel creativity for users.[6]

These technologies scour myriad sources to generate their results, some of which may be subject to author copyright or other intellectual property (“IP”) protection. Some entities have expressed concerns about potential IP infringement claims arising from the use of generative AI-generated content. This concern is valid, especially in light of recent public discussions among authors and artists regarding the integration of their work with AI models and services.  

Consequently, technology companies are developing strategies and solutions to protect their customers from exposure to infringement claims. One such solution is Microsoft’s recently announced Copilot Copyright Commitment (“CCC”). Pursuant to the CCC, if a commercial AI Copilot customer is sued by a third party for copyright infringement as a result of using Microsoft’s AI Copilots or their generative output, Microsoft will defend that customer and pay the amounts of any adverse judgments or settlements resulting from the infringement lawsuit, provided the customer used the guardrails and content filters built into the service.

In addition to implementing responsible AI tools such as content filters and establishing ethical AI principles and standards, contractual initiatives like the CCC will play a major role in facilitating the widespread commercial use of generative AI technology. They provide comfort to public and private sector technology customers by supporting them in their use of AI. As AI technology continues to advance, and specific AI legislation and regulations are still being developed, additional initiatives like the CCC will likely become necessary to ensure the continued prevalence of AI.