OpenAI promises to fund legal costs for ChatGPT business users sued over copyright

Two people having a legal discussion in an office
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Freedomz)

OpenAI has announced that it will do something very special to protect its users from copyright issues.

The introduction of a new scheme, entitled Copyright Shield, will see the company foot any bills relating to GPT copyright cases.

There’s a catch, though, because Copyright Shield only applies to customers using generally available products, which could leave many regular consumers in limbo.

In an announcement, the company stated: “OpenAI is committed to protecting our customers with built-in copyright safeguards in our systems.”

OpenAI added: “we will now step in and defend our customers, and pay the costs incurred, if you face legal claims around copyright infringement.”

Copyright Shield only protects users running generally available OpenAI products, including ChatGPT Enterprise and the developer platform.

The news comes after months of pressure – Microsoft announced that it would protect its own customers against legal battles by footing the bill earlier in September, two months before OpenAI’s move.

Copyright in the world of generative AI has become an increasingly important topic, because models like the firm’s latest GPT-4 use publicly available information for training purposes. This means that, on occasion, AI-generated responses could include content that belongs to somebody else.

Copyright protection is even more important in the case of OpenAI, which, at the same event, announced that it would make its sources much more current. The GPT-4 Turbo model now has knowledge of real-world events up to April 2023.

It’s worth noting that, at least for a few more weeks, GPT-4 turbo is in preview, so Copyright Shield won’t actually step in in the event of an infringement allegation.

Clearly, protection against copyright cases for products that are still in development would be a foolish move on OpenAI’s part, but its offer for generally available products demonstrates a clear commitment to responsible AI, just days after a British-organized summit saw representatives from various countries and enterprises discuss the future of AI.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!