Microsoft changes Services Agreement to add restrictions for AI offerings

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Microsoft has added rules and restrictions for AI offerings in its Terms of Service, which will go into effect on September 30. The changes were published on July 30.

A section on the subject defines “AI Services” as “services that are labeled or described by Microsoft as including, using, powered by, or being an Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) system.”

The section homes in on five rules and restrictions for Microsoft AI services, saying:

  1. Reverse Engineering. You may not use the AI services to discover any underlying components of the models, algorithms, and systems. For example, you may not try to determine and remove the weights of models.
  2. Extracting Data. Unless explicitly permitted, you may not use web scraping, web harvesting, or web data extraction methods to extract data from the AI services.
  3. Limits on use of data from the AI Services. You may not use the AI services, or data from the AI services, to create, train, or improve (directly or indirectly) any other AI service.
  4. Use of Your Content. As part of providing the AI services, Microsoft will process and store your inputs to the service as well as output from the service, for purposes of monitoring for and preventing abusive or harmful uses or outputs of the service.
  5. Third party claims. You are solely responsible for responding to any third-party claims regarding Your use of the AI services in compliance with applicable laws (including, but not limited to, copyright infringement or other claims relating to content output during Your use of the AI services).

The Microsoft Services Agreement changes come at a moment when Terms of Service changes related to AI are making headlines. For example, video conferencing and messaging provider Zoom is facing severe backlash for changes it quietly made to its Terms of Service (TOS) back in March related to AI — raising new questions about customer privacy, choice and trust. Last weekend, reports had spread widely that Zoom had made changes to its TOS clarifying that the company can train AI on user data, with no way to opt out.


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Just this morning, Zoom made a follow-up statement regarding its recently updated TOS and blog that noted: “Following feedback, Zoom made the decision to update its Terms of Service to reflect [that] Zoom does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen sharing, attachments or other communications-like Customer Content (such as poll results, whiteboard and reactions) to train Zoom or third-party artificial intelligence models. Zoom has accordingly updated its Terms of Service and product to make this policy clear.”

The New York Times also recently made updates to its Terms of Service to prevent AI companies from scraping Its content. It now says: “Non-commercial use does not include the use of Content without prior written consent from The New York Times Company in connection with: (1) the development of any software program, including, but not limited to, training a machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) system; or (2) providing archived or cached data sets containing Content to another person or entity.”

A spokeperson from the company told VentureBeat that “The Times’s terms of service always prohibited the use of our content for AI training and development. The recent changes were, in part, simply to make that prohibition even more clear.”

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