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Shoeleather Journalism in the Digital Age

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in the Digital Age

Google to defend generative AI users from copyright claims

A woman passes the logo from the web search engine provider Google during the digital society festival ‘re:publica’, at the Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany June 9, 2022. (Photo by Annegret Hilse for REUTERS)
By Blake Brittain | REUTERS

Google said on Thursday that it will defend users of generative artificial-intelligence systems in its Google Cloud and Workspace platforms if they are accused of intellectual property violations, joining Microsoft, Adobe and other companies that have made similar pledges.

Major technology companies like Google have been investing heavily in generative AI and racing to incorporate it into their products. Prominent writers, illustrators and other copyright owners have said in several lawsuits that both the use of their work to train the AI systems and the content the systems create violate their rights.

“To our knowledge, Google is the first in the industry to offer a comprehensive, two-pronged approach to indemnity” that specifically covers both types of claims, a company spokesperson said.

Google said its new policy applies to software, including its Vertex AI development platform and Duet AI system, which generates text and images in Google Workspace and Cloud programs. The press release did not mention Google’s more well-known generative AI chatbot program Bard.

The company also said the indemnity does not apply if users “intentionally create or use generated output to infringe the rights of others.”

The new wave of lawsuits over generative AI has generally targeted the companies that own the systems, including Google, and not individual end users.

AI defendants have said that the use of training data scraped from the internet to train their systems qualifies as fair use under U.S. copyright law.

Editor’s note: Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington; Editing by David Bario and Aurora Ellis

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