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Mike Young, Esq.

Who Owns ChatGPT-Generated Content?

By AI Lawyer, Artificial Intelligence, Intellectual Property
artificial intelligence, copyright, and intellectual property ownership

When you ask OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot to answer a question or generate other content, who owns the intellectual property rights to what’s created?

The answer to this question isn’t simple for ChatGPT or other content (e.g., images) generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

On its face, OpenAI grants ownership of the output to the person who entered the input (e.g., asked the question).

Per Subsection 3(a) of its Terms of Use (last modified December 13, 2022), “As between the parties and to the extent permitted by applicable law, you own all Input, and subject to your compliance with these Terms, OpenAI hereby assigns to you all its right, title and interest in and to Output. OpenAI may use Content as necessary to provide and maintain the Services, comply with applicable law, and enforce our policies. You are responsible for Content, including for ensuring that it does not violate any applicable law or these Terms.”

Yet that’s not the end of the story. Because Subsection 3(b) makes it clear that if two different users make similar requests, ChatGPT may produce the same answer for both users. “Responses that are requested by and generated for other users are not considered your Content.”

So it’s not safe to assume you own content generated by ChatGPT per your requests.

As artificial intelligence evolves to produce more comprehensive and sophisticated content, a licensing scheme should be implemented that addresses the intellectual property rights of the AI owner and its users as licensees (e.g., exclusivity).

Just don’t assume the great content an AI generated for you is owned by you or your business.

Whether you own the AI or want to use the content created by artificial intelligence, it makes sense to establish ownership and licensing rights on the front end instead of dealing with a messy lawsuit over intellectual property ownership later.

How To Protect Your Texas Martial Arts Dojo

By Business Contracts, Business Lawyer
texas martial arts dojo owner and students

When you open a Texas martial arts dojo, you want to make sure you’re protected legally.

For example, what if a student breaks a leg while sparring? Or halfway through a membership term, the student wants to walk away and quit paying?

Although there are unique factors you’ll want to discuss with a qualified Texas business lawyer, here are some common things to do to protect yourself as the Texas dojo owner.

1. First, you’ll want to operate using a business entity that has a personal liability shield that protects your personal assets (home, vehicle, bank accounts, etc.) from being taken from you if something goes wrong and there are damages to be paid. In Texas, the most popular entity to use is a limited liability company (LLC). A few dojo owners will use a Subchapter S corporation instead.

2. Then, you’ll want to make sure you have a membership agreement in place that protects your legal rights. For example, if you use a membership contract that violates the Texas Health Spa Act, the agreement is unenforceable. This means every one of your students can walk away without honoring the agreement.

3. Of course, you’ll want to have waivers of liability. Typically, the terms will be different for members versus visitors to your dojo. These waivers reduce your dojo’s risk of being sued or paying out damages if someone gets injured at your facility whether or not they’re training when it happens.

4. And you’ll want a valid media release so that you can record videos and take photos of members and visitors that you can use to promote your dojo in advertising, social media, and even instructional videos.

5. Now if you have people working as personal trainers, front desk staff, etc., you should have written employment contracts or independent contractor agreements in place with each of them. Which type of agreement you will use depends on the nature of the worker’s relationship with your dojo.

In addition to the legal documents, you’ll also want to have liability insurance in place to cover your dojo in case there is a personal injury or other claim. However, understand that this is more protection, not a replacement for the legal documents. Because sometimes an insurance company will deny a claim and you’ll still want the protections provided by the membership agreement, liability waivers, etc.

Need help putting the right legal protections in place for your Texas martial arts dojo? Schedule a phone consultation with Attorney Mike Young because he’s one of the few Texas lawyers who focuses on protecting dojo owners.

Does Your SaaS Agreement Cover Downtime?

By Software Agreements, Software Lawyer
SaaS subscription agreement software

When you’re selling software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions, it’s important to reduce your liability risk for downtime when your service is unavailable.

Your customers should know that (a) there will be downtime and (b) you’re not liable for most SaaS interruptions (e.g., no refunds).

Common SaaS downtime causes include…

* Routine maintenance

* Software upgrades

* Third-party server downtime (e.g. Amazon’s AWS)

You may want to treat uncommon downtime causes differently (e.g., credit for the downtime or partial refund).

For example, let’s say an “Act of God” event knocks you offline for a few weeks (e.g., a Category 5 hurricane strikes)

No matter how you handle downtime, it should be clearly addressed in your SaaS subscription agreement so your customers can understand and agree to the terms.

If you need help with your SaaS subscription agreement or other software contracts, the first thing to do is set up a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

How To Freelance As A Software Developer While Working As Employee

By Software Agreements, Software Lawyer
software development agreement template

When you’re working as an employee, is it okay to do freelance work for others as a software developer? It depends.

If you’re employed as a software developer, there’s a good chance your employer doesn’t want you moonlighting, particularly if you’re doing work for your employer’s competitors.

If you have an employment agreement, be sure to read it carefully to see if you’re permitted to freelance. And if there’s not a written contract between you and your employer, you’ll still want to discreetly check to see if there’s an employment policy against moonlighting.

Note that employers want (a) your best efforts as an employee and (b) to prevent trade secrets and other confidential information being shared with actual or potential competition. Freelancing as a software developer raises concerns that you’re slacking off as an employee to make money elsewhere plus potentially leaking valuable information.

But what if there’s no legal restriction on moonlighting? How should you proceed?

First, it’s a good idea to avoid freelancing for your employer’s competitors. To do so can create a mess where you end up fired, lose your freelance gig, and there’s a nasty lawsuit.

To add an additional layer of protection, consider setting up a single member limited liability company (LLC) or similar entity that will contract for your freelance software development projects instead of signing the contracts as an individual.

Of course, you’ll want to use a professionally prepared software development agreement template for your freelance gigs. Get it from an experienced software lawyer. Don’t “borrow” someone else’s agreement to use for your projects because it won’t contain all of the terms designed to protect you (and may actually contain provisions that hurt you) plus you may be engaging in intellectual property theft without the right to use the contract.

If you need help putting the right legal documents in place to work as a freelance software developer, the first step is to set up a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Has Your Business Contract Expired?

By Business Contracts, Business Lawyer
business contract

Many business contracts end but the parties who signed them don’t realize it and continue to do business as if the agreement still existed.

This can create legal disputes that lead to expensive lawsuits when one party suddenly decides to walk away and quit performing (e.g., stopping payment). That’s true whether the agreement is between business and consumer (b2c) or two businesses (b2b).

Ideally, you’ll have some sort of tickler system in place that lets you know when each contract’s current term ends and what you need to do prior to the end of that term.

Now it’s true some agreements are set up to renew. That can be for an additional term of the same length. However, how it renews can vary.

For example, a contract can auto-renew unless one of the parties provides XX days prior notice to the other party of an intent not to renew. Or it can be set up that both parties must affirmatively state they want to renew the contract (often on the same terms and conditions with a possible price adjustment).

There are also business contracts (e.g., gym membership contracts) that are commonly set up to convert to a month-to-month agreement upon expiration of the initial term.

When you’re reviewing your agreements to determine what you must do, a good place to start are the “term and termination provisions” plus the “notice” provisions. Note that there may be a separate section for early termination. And you’ll want to know what that requires too.

Now if you need help with your business contracts (not disputes), set up a phone consultation with Business Lawyer Mike Young.N