Microsoft’s AI Boss Thinks Copying from the Web is Just Fine (It’s Not)

mustafa suleyman

Microsoft’s Mustafa Suleyman claims anything on the web is fair game for copying, ignoring basic copyright principles.

Microsoft’s AI chief, Mustafa Suleyman, seems to have a rather … flexible understanding of copyright law. In a recent interview, he boldly claimed that anything published on the open web is fair game for copying and reuse.

See, traditionally, copyright protection kicks in the moment you create something, regardless of where you publish it. Suleyman’s “freeware” theory is about as accurate as a chatbot’s attempt at writing a haiku.

In the CNBC interview (video link), he said, “I think that with respect to content that’s already on the open web, the social contract of that content since the ‘90s has been that it is fair use. Anyone can copy it, recreate with it, reproduce with it. That has been “freeware,” if you like, that’s been the understanding.”


Fair use, as Suleyman seems to conveniently forget, isn’t a social contract you sign with the internet. It’s a legal defense that requires a court’s careful consideration. And while AI companies love to throw around the term, it’s far from a blank check to copy whatever you please.

What’s particularly ironic is that Microsoft is currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits alleging copyright infringement in their AI models. So, Suleyman’s defense of web scraping feels a bit like a fox guarding the henhouse.

Of course, this isn’t the first time an AI company has played fast and loose with copyright. But Suleyman’s brazen disregard for intellectual property is a new low. It’s a stark reminder that the AI industry is still grappling with ethical dilemmas and legal gray areas.

So, while Suleyman might see the web as an all-you-can-eat buffet of free content, the rest of us know better. Copyright law exists for a reason, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

By Abhimanyu

Unwrapping the fast-evolving AI popular culture.