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Re: Help building Pen.el (GPT for emacs)

From: Philip Kaludercic
Subject: Re: Help building Pen.el (GPT for emacs)
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2021 07:41:21 +0000

Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> writes:

>> From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
>> Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2021 21:14:23 -0400
>> Cc: stefan@marxist.se, eliz@gnu.org, mullikine@gmail.com,
>>  emacs-tangents@gnu.org
>>   > > That's not what happens with these services: they don't _copy_ code
>>   > > from other software (that won't work, because the probability of the
>>   > > variables being called by other names is 100%, and thus such code, if
>>   > > pasted into your program, will not compile).  What they do, they
>>   > > extract ideas and algorithms from those other places, and express them
>>   > > in terms of your variables and your data types.  So licenses are not
>>   > > relevant here.
>>   > According to online reviews chunks of code is copied even verbatim and
>>   > people find from where. Even if modified, it still requires licensing
>>   > compliance. 
>> From what I have read, it seems that the behavior of copilot runs on a
>> spectrum from the first description to the second description.  I
>> expect that in many cases, nothing copyrightable has been copied, but
>> in some cases copilot does copy a substantial amount from a
>> copyrighted work.
> It cannot be a verbatim copy, because at least the variables, and
> sometimes also the data types, need to be renamed.  Whether the result
> is still under the original copyright cannot be established without
> actually comparing the two versions of the code.  So any general
> flat rejection of the idea of these services on these grounds is not
> serious, IMO.

Not necessarily, if it generates a pure, top-level function. Someone
could type something like "Sort list of postcodes" and it generates a
Radix Sort function. And if this is part of some code that was copied a
lot, the model might tend to generate this verbatim even more likely.

Or that is at least my understanding.

        Philip Kaludercic

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