The recent emergence of generative AI (artificial intelligence) has opened many doors for people and businesses in a broad range of industries. Yet, despite these opportunities, some concerns persist. One of the leading concerns involves copyright or other intellectual property infringement. In theory, this could arise with regard to the data used to train the AI or the output that the AI produces. A business cannot afford to take the risk of infringement lightly. Violations of these federal laws may lead to massive amounts of damages, as well as reputational harm.
Last week, two vice presidents of Google Cloud published a blog post addressing the risk of infringement. They announced that Google will provide two forms of “intellectual property indemnity” for customers using its generative AI products. “Indemnity” means that Google will take responsibility for any legal problems that its customers confront due to alleged IP violations. First, Google provides a training data indemnity. This covers claims that its use of training data to create its generative models infringes on the IP rights of others. (Google notes that it always has provided this protection, so the recent announcement simply makes it explicit.)
The second type of indemnity is called generated output indemnity. This involves the output created by Google customers from prompts that they insert in Google AI products. Google will take responsibility for any legal claims involving alleged infringement by generated output. Products to which this indemnity applies include Vertex AI Search, Vertex AI Conversation, Duet AI in Google Workspace and Google Cloud, and several others listed in the blog post. However, Google notes that this indemnity extends only to situations in which a customer follows responsible AI practices. For example, it will not indemnify a business that intentionally used generated output from Google AI products to infringe on the IP rights of third parties.
The threat of IP litigation sometimes inhibits innovation in business. Offering these types of indemnity may encourage companies to explore and experiment with generative AI more confidently.
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