Copyright and AI is still a very grey area at the moment. To delve into this topic further, I decided to do what others have done and ask Chat GPT.

This answer states that Chat GPT is a proprietary technology that must be used under license for commercial use. It is stated in the OpenAI terms that the user “is responsible for content, including for ensuring that it does not violate any applicable law.” In other words, it is up to the user to seek legal advice about copyright implications.

As infringements to third-party rights are usually a big concern for content writers, I decided to test Chat GPT to investigate if content generated by the tool could be considered as third-party plagiarism. I asked chat GPT to write a short text on Agile project management.

The next step was a plagiarism check with quetext. The quetext report stated that 23% of my Chat GPT text is plagiarized. An interesting list of links and copied content is provided by the quetext report.

Quite a number of the continuous word sequences which appear in the text, are all reproduced from / or appear similar to other internet content. Here are some of the strings of four words and above:

  • is a way to manage a project 
  • on individuals and interactions, working software, customer collaboration, and
  • delivering value to the customer
  • At the beginning of each sprint, the team
  • of small increments of working software
  • This allows the team to quickly identify and
  • This is a short, daily meeting where each team member shares
  • with the development team to ensure that the product

It is said that the language model behind Chat GPT predicts which words will come next in a string. It seems that the more specific the request, the longer the text segments are, and, in my case, the longest identical string contains a sequence of 11 words. It is also the case that these text segments are from websites covering the same topic. This is obviously of serious concern to someone wishing to produce unique and credible content.

How many words in a continuous sequence is considered as plagiarism, and when is a citation necessary?

Universities are quite strict on what is known as patchwork plagiarism, which is basically the amalgamation of word strings from different sources to create a new text. In some universities, strings of more than three or four words without citations can put the authenticity of a paper in question. As Chat GPT never takes more than a smattering of words from one source, it is doubtful whether a third party could accuse somebody of verbatim plagiarism. However, users should be aware of the fact that Chat GPT is a language model based on a lot of existing content.

Is it possible for other people to detect the use of Chat GPT?

Yes, there are a number of third-party websites which offer tools like to detect the use of AI content. In addition, OpenAi have expressed interest in creating a watermark, with which other internet users can detect the use of AI. In this way, it will be possible to locate AI generated content.

How can a content writer use Chat GPT legally to create commercial content?

There are many tools which are built on language models behind Chat GPT. They offer subscription services and have licensing agreements with OpenAI. It is possible to pay a monthly subscription and create a lot of AI generated content quite legally. The free beta version of Chat GPT is for testing purposes and not intended for commercial use. It is also unlikely that it will remain free, as the service has massive operating costs. Therefore, the free version is not a sustainable long-term commercial solution anyway. There is likely to be a Pro, pay for service in the future.

What can I use Chat GPT for?

 Some ideas which I have tried out are:

  • You can use Chat GPT to create a list of keywords for specialized topic. Select the ones you want, and ask Chat GPT to generate text, create gap fill exercises and matching comprehension questions.
  • Ask Chat GPT to create example sentences, and definitions from given vocabulary. Create matching exercises with the words and definitions.
  • Ask Chat GPT to list functional language, for example, agreeing and disagreeing, and create a categorization task.
  • Ask Chat GPT to simplify a text for a lower skill level.
  • Create a dialogue/text in the style of a well-known author.

In conclusion, awareness of copyright is still important when using AI tools, and it is necessary to understand the legal implications of using such technology. It is likely that AI use will be widespread in the future, and its role in content creation will increase.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 


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