Programmer and lawyer Matthew Butterick has filed a lawsuit against the way Github Copilot, an artificial intelligence-based virtual programmer, works. However, this lawsuit can serve as an impetus for a significant change in the work of other artificial intelligences. After all, modern artificial intelligences are based on piracy of someone else’s intellectual property.
Github Copilot offers code snippets to programmers, sort of like the autocomplete feature in Google Docs or Gmail. Copilot compiled its proposal base from publicly available lines of code on the Internet.
The lawsuit alleges that Copilot blatantly ignores or withdraws licenses established by the authors of the code. In fact, artificial intelligence is being blamed on “software piracy on an unprecedented scale,” says TechToday.
These copyright concerns that artificial intelligence ignores are not limited to programmers. Writers, musicians, and visual artists have echoed these concerns in recent years, especially in the wake of increasingly popular and efficient generative neural networks for image and video creation, such as Open AI‘s DALL-E and Stable Diffusion.
Generative approaches like DALL-E will take images of Pablo Picasso and then transform them into something new based on the user’s description. This act of repurposing someone else’s data further complicates traditional thinking about copyright.
Like Butterick, a growing choir of artists and creative writers has recently gone public with understandable fears that the future maturity of such content generators threatens to put them out of business. Some companies are exploring new ways to credit people whose work is being exploited by AI. NIX Solutions notes that last month, for example, Shutterstock announced the sale of art created by DALL-E.
As part of this initiative, Shuttersock said it will launch a first-of-its-kind Contributor Fund to compensate contributors whose images Shutterstock used to develop the technology. Shutterstock has stated that it is also interested in reimbursing royalties to contributors when DALL-E uses their creations.