All of us have heard about the Github new project, Github Copilot which basically is a privative Service as a Software Substitute mathematical model which based on the public content of Github generate code suggestions to “help” developers.
Microsoft thought that since the code was public and their program is a “neural network” it was ok to ignore every license ever pushed into Github in the name of “fair use”.
The result is the perfect code laundry pipeline to remove any license and copyright thus stealing the code making a remix and giving it to the user of the.- remember.- privative sass Github Copilot to use it as he likes without any attribution or license requirement.
There are many reasons because this is not fair use in this case in fact I would call a very evil use.
The first is Github Copilot is stealing our job many times done without getting nothing in change just because we love Free as in Freedom Software and we wanted users and other developers to get the same freedoms we distributed our software with this is what GPLv3 and AGPLv3 licenses protect and Github Copilot anyway gets our software makes a derived work and gives it to its user saying.- Do you want to make privative of freedom software? No problem, this is yours now.
The second is attribution and copyright holdership, MIT licenses could have been appropiated if Microsoft included a copy of the license and a list of all the copyright holders from the training set which is mandatory to include into projects using the Github Copilot intellectual rights stealing infrastructure. This didn’t happened, “fair use”, they said.
The third is public privative software like the anti-capitalist license, people who thought the capitalism was unfair with some collectives often license their software under this license so only people from those collectives could use their software, Github Copilot potentially stole hundreds of paper pages from those people being one of the enterprises which more benefits get from this economic system. Is fair use to laundry code from people who hates capitalism and stated in their licenses they didn’t wanted their code to be used by enterprises to be used by enterprises.
The fourth reason is this effectively removes the right to have intellectual rights if your creation is submited to the public. If you love to share your creations to everyone you no longer have rights to attribution or licensing since a bunch of magical legalish techy words like “neural network”, “fair use” or “public content” can erase all your license and authorship in a few seconds.
This somewhat reminds me Karl Marx saying that communism abolishing property wasn’t a problem at all because capitalism already abolished property for 99% of people.
If you are a software developer and had public code on Github you should probably contact with a lawyer and start organizing with other developers to the biggest sue for copyright violation ever.