Microsoft has told customers of its AI Copilot services that if they are challenged on copyright grounds, the company will assume responsibility for the potential legal risks involved.
Announcing its new Copilot Copyright Commitment, the tech giant said if a third party sues a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using Microsoft’s Copilots or the output they generate, “we will defend the customer and pay the amount of any adverse judgments or settlements that result from the lawsuit, as long as the customer used the guardrails and content filters we have built into our products”.
Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, said that some customers are concerned about the risk of IP infringement claims if they use the output produced by generative AI.
“This is understandable, given recent public inquiries by authors and artists regarding how their own work is being used in conjunction with AI models and services,” Smith said in a blog post late on Thursday.
“The new commitment extends our existing intellectual property indemnity support to commercial Copilot services and builds on our previous AI Customer Commitments,” he added.
The company said it has built important guardrails into its AI Copilots to help respect authors’ copyrights.
“We have incorporated filters and other technologies that are designed to reduce the likelihood that Copilots return infringing content,” said Hossein Nowbar, CVP and Chief Legal Officer.
The Copilot Copyright Commitment extends Microsoft’s existing IP indemnification, including the output they generate, specifically for paid versions of Microsoft commercial Copilot services and Bing Chat Enterprise.
This includes Microsoft 365 Copilot that brings generative AI to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
“Today’s announcement is a first step. 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,” said Smith.