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Introducing the Microsoft Copilot Copyright Commitment

Use Microsoft Copilot services with confidence.

September 7, 2023

Today, we announced the Microsoft Copilot Copyright Commitment, a new benefit that extends our existing intellectual property indemnity support to commercial Copilot services and builds on our previous AI Customer Commitments. Starting October 1, 2023, Microsoft is offering to defend customers from IP infringement claims arising from the customer's use and distribution of the output content generated by Microsoft’s Copilot services. Specifically, should a third party sue a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using a Microsoft Copilot service or the output they generate, we will defend the customer and pay the amount of any adverse judgements or settlements that result from the lawsuit, as long as the customer used the guardrails and content filters we have built into our products.

This new commitment does not change Microsoft’s position that it does not claim any intellectual property rights in the outputs of its Copilot services.

Our customers want to harness the power of generative AI technologies, and we want them to work and innovate with confidence. This commitment builds on steps we have taken to incorporate filters, classifiers, content filtering, operational monitoring and abuse detection, and other safeguards.

Specifically, the Copilot Copyright Commitment will:

  • Cover third-party IP claims based on copyright, patent, trademark, trade secrets, or right of publicity, but not claims based on trademark use in trade or commerce, defamation, false light, or other causes of action that are not related to IP rights.
  • Cover the customer’s use and distribution of the output content generated by our Copilot services, but not the customer’s input data, modifications of the output content, or uses of output that the customer knows or should know will infringe the rights of others.
  • Require the customer to use the content filters and other safety systems built into the product and the customer must not attempt to generate infringing materials, including not providing input to a Copilot service that the customer does not have appropriate rights to use.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and the relevant contractual terms will reflect the details.

The Microsoft Copilot Copyright Commitment will be effective starting October 1, 2023, and apply to paid versions of Microsoft commercial Copilot services and Bing Chat Enterprise.  It will not extend to any free products, custom-built Copilot services, or consumer products or services, even if identified as a Copilot.  It will be reflected in a single change to our Product Terms, where all applicable conditions will be detailed. No contractual change or action will be needed on behalf of our customers to benefit from this commitment. Customers who use our Copilot services and outputs in accordance with the terms and conditions of their commercial licensing agreements and the Product Terms will automatically get this benefit.

Frequently asked questions

  • Our commitment extends to paid versions of Microsoft commercial Copilot services (including Windows Copilot when signed in with a work ID) and Bing Chat Enterprise. It will not extend to any free products, custom-built Copilot services, or consumer products or services, even if identified as a Copilot.

  • Yes. Microsoft already agrees to broadly defend customers from claims that use of its products directly infringes third party IP rights. Our announcement of Copilot Copyright Commitment extends this further, to include the output content of Copilots, assuming certain conditions are met.

  • Microsoft does not claim ownership of the output of the service. That said, we do not make a determination on whether a customer’s output is copyright protected or enforceable against other users. This is because generative AI systems may produce similar responses to similar prompts or queries from multiple customers. Consequently, multiple customers may have or claim rights in content that is the same or substantially similar.

  • Yes. We not only include copyright, but also patent, trademark, trade secrets, as well as right of publicity in our defense commitment of Copilot services.

    The name of our commitment focuses on copyright for several reasons. First, it is the area of IP law where there is currently the greatest debate around the intersection between IP protection and the training of generative AI models. Even where existing copyright law is clear, generative AI is raising new public policy issues and shining a light on multiple public goals. Second, as the law evolves and catches up with technology, we can anticipate that more copyright claims may be brought to test the contours of the law. Third, in light of this, we named our commitment to call out copyright explicitly, so that our customers can confidently use Microsoft Copilot services, as well as the output they generate, knowing that we will stand with them.

  • Inputs are what customers supply to and are processed by Copilot services; this can include data, or a prompt. Output content or outputs are what a Copilot service returns to the user. We make this important distinction in our conditions because customers solely control what they include as inputs.  Customers are therefore responsible for ensuring they have sufficient rights to use all their inputs in connection with a Copilot service, including any data used to ground the model.