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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Google Steps Up to Protect Users in AI Copyright Lawsuits

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Photo credits: Cath Virginia / The Verge

In a bid to address concerns over copyright infringement in the use of generative AI, Google has pledged to protect customers who utilize its generative AI products.

The company stated in a blog post that it will assume responsibility for customers using products embedded with generative AI features, offering legal coverage in the event of copyright-related lawsuits.

Google specifically mentioned seven products that it will legally cover: Duet AI in Workspace (including text generated in Google Docs and Gmail, and images in Google Slides and Google Meet), Duet AI in Google Cloud, Vertex AI Search, Vertex AI Conversation, Vertex AI Text Embedding API, Visual Captioning on Vertex AI, and Codey APIs. However, Google's Bard search tool was not included in the list.

"If you are challenged on copyright grounds, we will assume responsibility for the potential legal risks involved," Google assured its customers. The company outlined a two-pronged approach to intellectual property indemnification, covering both its training data and the results generated from its foundation models. This means that if Google's training data includes copyrighted material and a user gets sued, Google will bear the legal consequences.

While Google stated that indemnity around training data is not a new protection, it acknowledged that customers sought explicit clarification regarding the coverage of copyrighted information in the training data. The company also committed to protecting users if they are sued for the results they obtain after using its foundation models, as long as the generated output was not intentionally created or used to infringe on the rights of others.

Google's move follows similar proclamations from other companies. Microsoft, for example, announced that it would take legal responsibility for enterprise users of its Copilot products, while Adobe pledged to protect enterprise customers using Firefly against copyright, privacy, and publicity rights claims.

Copyright issues have been a recurring concern in the realm of generative AI platforms, leading to an increase in lawsuits against various companies for alleged copyright infringement. Recently, renowned authors such as George R.R. Martin, John Grisham, and Jodi Picoult filed a lawsuit against companies for alleged copyright violations.

Google has already faced a proposed class action lawsuit for allegedly using personal information and copyrighted data to train its AI models. The company's latest commitment to protecting users in AI copyright lawsuits demonstrates its dedication to addressing these concerns and fostering a responsible and legally compliant AI ecosystem.

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