ChatGPT is one of the most exciting things to happen in recent technology. Everyone is excited about the various things it can output. But as TheStreet article recently explored, we should be paying attention to the input.
ChatGPT is an effective tool for businesses and creators. However, while it is still evolving, many people are anxious about what this technology may hold for our future. The potential outcome of artificial intelligence (AI) is unknown, which is itself concerning.
AI has already allowed students to have the service write research papers for them, so it leads one to wonder about the risks of AI-generated content. Writer for Forbes, Lance Eliot, warns that AI users could be setting themselves up for lawsuits while ChatGPT could get out of any legal liability.
Licensing Agreement & the Indemnification Clause
Consider the licensing terms you must agree to when you sign up for ChatGPT. Most users do not bother to read them because they assume the terms are the usual legalese, but all that legal stuff is important…and binding.
Lance Eliot points out in his article, “Section 7a of the existing licensing agreement as posted on the OpenAI website and associated with and encompassing your use of ChatGPT:
- Section 7. Indemnification; Disclaimer of Warranties; Limitations on Liability: (a) Indemnity. You will defend, indemnify, and hold harmless us, our affiliates, and our personnel, from and against any claims, losses, and expenses (including attorneys’ fees) arising from or relating to your use of the Services, including your Content, products or services you develop or offer in connection with the Services, and your breach of these Terms or violation of applicable law.”
In other words, when you agree to the Terms of Service, you agree that if OpenAI is sued for something you do with their services or products (including ChatGPT), you are responsible for all claims and expenses incurred. Even more, the expenses include attorney’s fees.
For example, an attorney relies on ChatGPT output for a legal pleading filed with the court, and a client alleges it caused them harm. The client decides to sue the attorney and OpenAI. However, under Open AI’s indemnification provisions of the licensing agreement, the user (the attorney) is liable for all expenses incurred in the lawsuit. While these clauses are not unusual, ChatGPTs are more extensive than most. And most people will agree to the Terms of Service without knowledge of this clause, but ignorance is not a defense.
If you think nobody would rely on ChatGPT output without confirming it is correct – think again. ChatGPT interactions are conveyed with a sense of confidence. However, ChatGPT content has proven to have biases, errors, and even made-up information. Using ChatGPT without errors can lead to a false sense of reliance on the program. The user lets down their guard and begins to believe ChatGPT content is reliable. This is when trouble strikes.
What Should Lawyers Do to Protect Themselves?
First and foremost, practice what you preach and read the fine print of the Terms of Service. Make sure every attorney in your law firm understands the implications of using AI. ChatGPT is an excellent tool for attorneys, but lawyers must stay on guard when using it. AI can be a significant time-saver and can help your law firm remain competitive in this changing market, but proceed with caution. Don’t focus on speedy output and forget to double-check the ChatGPT content. Taking a little more time to ensure the content is correct and doesn’t contain biases is worth preventing embarrassment and significant liability in a lawsuit.
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