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Judge Dismisses DMCA Claims by Coders Against Microsoft, OpenAI, and GitHub

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The partial dismissal shows that the complainants were unable to provide evidence that GitHub replicates code written by humans.

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The judge presiding over a billion-dollar class-action lawsuit against GitHub, OpenAI, and Microsoft regarding the purported unauthorized utilization of intellectual property (IP) to develop the “GitHub Copilot” AI coding tool has partially rejected the allegations against the defendants.

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This decision represents a victory for Big Tech and the generative AI sector, which is currently grappling with several interconnected legal challenges.

Doe(s) vs. OpenAI, GitHub, and Microsoft

The plaintiffs in the legal case claimed that OpenAI had extracted data from GitHub and utilized code snippets created by humans to teach GitHub Copilot without obtaining consent, providing compensation, or giving credit. The lawsuit alleged that Copilot replicated code written by humans verbatim, leading the complainants to seek $1 billion in damages.

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The lawsuit involves five unidentified complainants who are believed to be part of the group suing, all identified as “John Doe” in the court papers that have been made available to the public thus far.

Two different reports from Bloomberg Law and Law360 indicate that California Northern District Judge Jon S. Tigar has thrown out the class claims related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The reason for this, as stated by Bloomberg Law, is that the claimants were unable to demonstrate that their code had been reproduced in an identical manner.

Judge Tigar filed the dismissal on June 24, according to related documents. During that time, public access to the filing was limited, potentially because previously redacted names were revealed. The filing was eventually unsealed on Friday, July 5.

Artificial Intelligence Impact

The legal case was initially submitted in 2022. During that period, industry experts and commentators believed that the lawsuit would have significant consequences for the technology sector. James Vincent from The Verge, in particular, mentioned that the lawsuit could greatly influence the field of artificial intelligence.

Vincent also referenced two developers linked to the lawsuit who expressed concerns about the situation. They compared the current state of AI to the Napster era and warned that allowing companies like Microsoft to utilize code without proper credit could harm the open-source community.

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By July 2024, it seems that most of those allegations have been rejected. The implications for Microsoft, OpenAI, and GitHub are uncertain, but it could result in a loosening of the companies’ activities in the field of AI-generated coding.

Microsoft and OpenAI are confronted with various legal actions, including one from The New York Times that bears resemblance to this particular case. Similar to the individuals involved in the coding lawsuit, The New York Times claims that OpenAI utilized its intellectual property to train its models, and that these models occasionally generate outputs containing identical information.

It remains to be seen whether the latest decision in favor of OpenAI, Microsoft, and GitHub will have any impact on that case or others of a similar nature.CRYPTOCASTER® - DECENTRALIZED FREEDOM!


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