CDS Crypto News Judge Partially Dismisses $1 Billion Lawsuit Against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft
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Judge Partially Dismisses $1 Billion Lawsuit Against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft

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Judge Partially Dismisses $1 Billion Lawsuit Against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft

Judge Partially Dismisses $1 Billion Lawsuit Against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft

The judge presiding over a billion-dollar class action lawsuit against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft concerning the alleged unauthorized use of intellectual property (IP) to train the “GitHub Copilot” AI coding software has partially dismissed the claims against these tech giants.

This decision is a significant victory for big tech and the broader generative AI industry, which is currently navigating several similar legal challenges.

Doe(s) v. OpenAI/GitHub/Microsoft

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit accused OpenAI of “scraping” GitHub, using human-created code snippets to train GitHub Copilot without obtaining permission, offering compensation, or providing credit. The lawsuit claimed that Copilot replicated human-generated code verbatim, with the plaintiffs seeking $1 billion in damages.

The case features five anonymous plaintiffs, each designated as “John Doe” in the publicly available court documents.

Reports from Bloomberg Law and Law360 indicate that California Northern District Judge Jon S. Tigar dismissed the class action claims related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Bloomberg Law noted that the dismissal was due to the plaintiffs’ failure to demonstrate that their code was reproduced identically.

Judge Tigar’s dismissal was reportedly filed on June 24. At that time, access to the filing’s text was restricted, likely due to the potential disclosure of previously redacted names. The document was unsealed on Friday, July 5.

Implications for Artificial Intelligence

Originally filed in 2022, the lawsuit was widely regarded by analysts and commentators as having the potential to set significant precedents in the tech industry. The Verge’s James Vincent, for instance, suggested that the case could have profound implications for the broader AI landscape.

Vincent also referenced statements from two programmers allegedly behind the lawsuit, who compared the current state of AI to the Napster era, warning that allowing Microsoft to use others’ code without attribution could threaten the open-source movement.

As of July 2024, it seems many of these claims have been dismissed. The implications for Microsoft, OpenAI, and GitHub are still uncertain, but this ruling might pave the way for these companies to pursue AI-generated coding innovations more freely.

Microsoft and OpenAI are also contending with several similar lawsuits, including one from the New York Times. Similar to the coding lawsuit, the New York Times alleges that OpenAI used its IP to train its models, which sometimes produce outputs containing identical content.

The extent to which the recent favorable ruling for OpenAI, Microsoft, and GitHub will influence these and other related cases remains to be seen.

Judge Partially Dismisses $1 Billion Lawsuit Against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft

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