Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI are pleading with the court to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit that accuses these companies of scraping licensed code to create GitHub’s AI-powered Copilot tool, reported Reuters.
According to a pair of filings submitted to a San Francisco court, the Microsoft-owned GitHub and OpenAI say that the claims outlined in the lawsuit do not hold up. Launched in 2021, Copilot uses OpenAI’s technology to generate and suggest codes directly within the code editor of a programmer.
The tool, which has been trained using publicly available code from GitHub, caused concerns over whether it violates copyright laws right after its release. Things escalated when programmer and lawyer Matthew Butterick and the legal team at Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed a proposed class action lawsuit last November, claiming that the tool relies on “software piracy on an unprecedented scale.”
Butterick and his team later filed a second lawsuit on similar grounds on behalf of two anonymous software developers. This is the lawsuit that Microsoft, OpenAI, and GitHub want to be dismissed.
As noted in the filing, GitHub and Microsoft say the complaint fails on two intrinsic defects, lack of an otherwise viable claim and lack of injury. OpenAI similarly said the plaintiffs “allege a grab bag of claims that fail to plead violations of cognizable legal rights.”
According to the companies, the plaintiffs are relying on “hypothetical events” to back their claim and say they do not describe how they were personally harmed by the tool. The court hearing to dismiss the lawsuit will take place in May.