The GitHub Co-pilot provide code as a service. As far as I know they use code from public repos of GitHub as suggestions to the developers. How they deal with different licenses on public repos and how consumers of these services are not bound by those licenses. I used co-pilot as a free trial once and it don’t give license info along with the code. If they don’t need license to distribute the code why did individual developers are bound to do so under the license terms. These words are on GitHub Copilot webpage:

Trained on billions of lines of code, GitHub Copilot turns natural language prompts into coding suggestions across dozens of languages.

I am curious to know from the experts about the legal as well as moral implications of this services.


1 Answer 1


I am answering my own question based on the above comment from Nicolas Formichella. This Question will be answered by the court in this class action. An excerpt from the aforementioned webpage:

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.)

My personal opinion is GitHub has robbed the code of millions of it's users by using the public code from GitHub in their commercial service.

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