Despite a pending class action lawsuit, Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI are pushing forward with their Copilot project and making it generally available for $19 a month per user.
According to a recent GitHub press release, “we’re excited to bring GitHub Copilot to organizations with simple and flexible license management, organization-wide policy controls, and industry-leading privacy—all for $19 USD/month per user.”
For $19 a month users will benefit from simple license management which will allow admins to enable GitHub Copilot for their teams while selecting which specific developers receive license access. Businesses on the $19 a month plan can also make use of organization-wide management policies that allow them to set policy controls for user settings for public code match.
The last benefit touted by GitHub for is Copilot program is perhaps the most controversial one and is partly why there is a pending class action lawsuit from developer and lawyer Mathew Butterick and Joseph Saveri Law Firm.
GitHub list the benefit of secure coding with the following:
- Your code is safe with us. With Copilot for Business, we won’t retain code snippets, store or share your code regardless if the data is from public repositories, private repositories, non-GitHub repositories, or local files.
However, the premise of the Copilot project is that its crowdsourcing developer code helps build up a reserve of code to help template and automate code queries, or as Butterick affirms,
By training their AI systems on public GitHub repositories (though based on their public statements, possibly much more) we contend that the defendants have violated the legal rights of a vast number of creators who posted code or other work under certain open-source licenses on GitHub. Which licenses? A set of 11 popular open-source licenses that all require attribution of the author’s name and copyright, including the MIT license, the GPL, and the Apache license. (These are enumerated in the appendix to the complaint.)
The GitHub press release does not address this seemingly outstanding contradiction, leaving many to assume there is some further fine print to be read when signing up for the $19 a month plan.