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Honestly copilot is the canary in the coal mine. We need to be ratcheting up a new set/version of FOSS licenses that treat AI's trained off the code as derivative works quickly.

@trashheap Problem is, even if they roll out the GPLv4 with this clause in it or something, is there any way to check if Microsoft is honoring it?

And even if we find proof it's easy to dispute. Imagine I write some code under the theoretical Anti-Copilot License, and then it turns up in Copilot. There is no way to prove that Copilot was copying my code; for all we know Copilot just came up with that itself.

@trashheap If I write some code, can someone come sue *me* presenting very similar code they previously wrote? Theoretically yes, but the culture around computer science is to *not* do that. No one really patents algorithms or data structures.
But Copilot has no such qualms. If we try to sue Copilot, we show that it has the ability to write copyrightable code. Then, anything Copilot spits out is copyright, by Microsoft.

@trashheap They could just run servers and servers full of Copilots, running around the web checking for code that looks "sufficiently similar" to things Copilot has previously produced, and sending S&D letters to the owners of it, because the "person" Copilot wrote it first.
It's like if the Library of Babel people set a copyright on their whole library.

@petra The alternative though seems to be that AI, rewriting existing code slightly differently strips it of copyright in a way that only effects FLOSS code (as most proprietary code isn't available for training off of). Which is just as bad.

AND if Copilot was deemed a derivative work of say GPL code. It itself and all derivative works using it would be GPL. (Or any other copyleft license).

As most code generators require license exceptions to not taint their output.

@petra If microsoft wants to have a billion servers in the cloud pre-copyrighting all possible code in the world UNDER the GPL. That is fine by me.

@petra See how Bison requires an exception to protect code it generates from the viral nature of the GPL : spdx.org/licenses/GPL-2.0-with

@trashheap it seems like whatever happens we better get some very smart people working on this. open source software works because people making it assume other people are working in good faith. I haven't heard of a case of someone stealing and reselling someone else's FOSS software...
because the people behind copilot are not working in good faith, they want money.

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