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Matthew Butt­erick

Matthew Butt­erick githubcopilotlitigation.com

We've filed a lawsuit challenging GitHub Copilot

A couple weeks back, Adam logged some news that linked to githubcopilotinvestigation.com. Well, There’s a new website now: githubcopilotlitigation.com

Matthew Butterick:

By train­ing their AI sys­tems on pub­lic GitHub repos­i­to­ries (though based on their pub­lic state­ments, pos­si­bly much more) we con­tend that the defen­dants have vio­lated the legal rights of a vast num­ber of cre­ators who posted code or other work under cer­tain open-source licenses on GitHub. Which licenses? A set of 11 pop­u­lar open-source licenses that all require attri­bu­tion of the author’s name and copy­right, includ­ing the MIT license, the GPL, and the Apache license.

Matthew Butt­erick githubcopilotinvestigation.com

GitHub Copilot Investigation

Is GitHub Copilot an AI parasite trained in the realms of fair use on pub­lic code any­where on the inter­net? Or, is it a much needed automation layer to all the reasons we open source in the first place?

When I first wrote about Copi­lot, I said “I’m not wor­ried about its effects on open source.” In the short term, I’m still not wor­ried. But as I reflected on my own jour­ney through open source—nearly 25 years—I real­ized that I was miss­ing the big­ger pic­ture. After all, open source isn’t a fixed group of peo­ple. It’s an ever-grow­ing, ever-chang­ing col­lec­tive intel­li­gence, con­tin­u­ally being renewed by fresh minds. We set new stan­dards and chal­lenges for each other, and thereby raise our expec­ta­tions for what we can accom­plish.

Amidst this grand alchemy, Copi­lot inter­lopes. Its goal is to arro­gate the energy of open-source to itself. We needn’t delve into Microsoft’s very check­ered his­tory with open source to see Copi­lot for what it is: a par­a­site.

The legal­ity of Copi­lot must be tested before the dam­age to open source becomes irrepara­ble. That’s why I’m suit­ing up.

What are your thoughts on this investigation and “poten­tial law­suit” against GitHub Copi­lot?

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