Microsoft offers legal IP cover for AI assistant

By: Rob Corbidge, 11 September 2023

Microsoft has moved to offer legal cover to customers of its Copilot AI assistant if they are ever hit with copyright claims

Microsoft's Copilot AI assistant is to be covered by an indemnity guarantee from the tech company which will see customers protected from "IP infringement claims arising from the customer's use and distribution of the output content generated by Microsoft’s Copilot services".

The announcement comes as a degree of unease develops among early enterprise adopters of generative AI regarding their potential exposure to copyright claims based on the training data used by generative AI systems.

With such a "Copyright Commitment" from Microsoft, users of Copilot can be assured that MS is confident that no - or few - such claims will arise. 

The three commitments made by Microsoft will see the business cover the following from the start of October:

  • Cover third-party IP claims based on copyright, patent, trademark, trade secrets, or right of publicity, but not claims based on trademark use in trade or commerce, defamation, false light, or other causes of action that are not related to IP rights.

  • Cover the customer’s use and distribution of the output content generated by our Copilot services, but not the customer’s input data, modifications of the output content, or uses of output that the customer knows or should know will infringe the rights of others.

  • Require the customer to use the content filters and other safety systems built into the product and the customer must not attempt to generate infringing materials, including not providing input to a Copilot service that the customer does not have appropriate rights to use.

Does the move herald a general trend in which generative AI products are obliged to offer some legal protection for clients, or at least explicitly say if no cover exists (and not buried away in T&Cs on page 342)?