[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Brief update about software freedom and artificial intelligence

Gerardo Ballabio <gerardo.ballabio@gmail.com> writes:

> As I understand, that is an open legal question. The Affero GPL would be
> such a license *if* the training dataset would be considered part of the
> code. While that does seem to make sense, as AI code is essentially
> non-functional without the training, I am not aware that there has ever
> been a pronouncement by a court of law that affirms or denies it, nor I
> am aware of any free/open source license that contains language that
> deals specifically with that issue, and I'm pretty sure that there's lot
> of room for lawyers to argue their point.

To add to this, I'm fairly sure that the companies that are training AI
models on, say, every piece of text they can find on the Internet, or all
public GitHub repositories, are going to explicitly argue that doing so is
fair use of the training material.  If that argument prevails in court, or
in legislatures, it will not be possible to write a free software license
to prevent this, since the point of fair use is that copyright law does
not apply to that usage and therefore no copyright license can prohibit

I don't think we have any idea yet whether that argument will prevail.  It
will probably be years before it reaches a high enough level court in the
United States for a definitive ruling, let alone every other relevant
country that will have its own legal judgments.  Consider Google
v. Oracle: a suitable case with litigants willing to appeal all the way to
the highest court about the copyright status of library APIs was only
filed in 2015, years after this became a common issue, and it took six
years for it to be decided, and that only in the United States.  I would
expect a similar delay.  Court systems work very slowly.  It's also
entirely possible that court judgments will go different ways in different
countries to add even more confusion.

The organizations that have every incentive to argue that it's fair use
have very deep pockets, so they have a substantial chance of success on
the prosaic grounds that the best-funded litigant or lobbyist always
stands a reasonable chance of winning.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)              <https://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

Reply to: