Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI want the court to dismiss a proposed class action complaint accusing the companies of scraping licensed code to build GitHub’s AI-powered Copilot tool, as previously reported by Reuters. In a a few registrations Microsoft-owned GitHub and OpenAI filed Thursday in a federal court in San Francisco saying the claims outlined in the lawsuit don’t hold up.
Matters came to a head when programmer and attorney, Matthew Butterick, along with the legal team at Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed a proposed class action lawsuit last November alleging that the tool relies on “software piracy on an unprecedented scale.” Butterick and his legal team later submitted for a second proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of two anonymous software developers on similar grounds, which is the lawsuit Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI want to dismiss.
As noted in the filing, Microsoft and GitHub say the complaint “fails on two intrinsic flaws: lack of injury and lack of an otherwise viable claim,” while OpenAI similarly says the plaintiffs allege “a grab bag of claims that don’t argue for violations of apparent legal rights.” The companies claim that the plaintiffs rely on “hypothetical events” to make their claim, saying they do not describe how they were personally harmed by the tool.
“Copilot is not withdrawing anything from the open source code available to the public,” Microsoft and GitHub claim in the filing. “On the contrary, Copilot helps developers write code by generating suggestions based on what it has learned from all the knowledge gleaned from public code.”
In addition, Microsoft and GitHub allege that the plaintiffs are those who “undermine open source principles” by asking for “a multibillion-dollar injunction and windfall” regarding the “software they voluntarily share as open source.”
The hearing to dismiss the lawsuit will take place in May and Joseph Saveri Law Firm has not immediately commented The edgerequest for comment.
With other companies also looking at AI, Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI aren’t the only ones facing legal trouble. Earlier this month, Butterick and Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed another lawsuit alleging that the AI art tools created by MidJourney, Stability AI, and DeviantArt violate copyright laws by illegally scraping artists’ work from the internet. Getty Images is also suing Stability AI over claims that the company’s Stable Diffusion tool “unlawfully” scraped images from the site.