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University of Portland Clark Library

AI Tools and Resources

Using Copyrighted Materials

Generative AI tools are trained on collections of material gathered from many places. Some AI image and text generation tools have been trained on material scraped from web pages without the consent or knowledge of the web page owners. User-entered information or uploading of PDFs into chat prompts might also contribute to an AI tool's training and reuse in its responses to other user prompts. 

There are several ongoing lawsuits claiming that the use of artists’ or writers' content, without permission, to train generative AI is an infringement of copyright. The courts will have to decide if this is justified fair use or infringement.

Ethical Question:

  • Do generative AI tools violate copyright? Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection provided by the laws of the United States to the [human] creators of "original works of authorship."

What can you do? When using AI tools, be cautious about entering or uploading any copyrighted material into a prompt. Here are a few scenarios to consider: 

  • Read the Terms of Service or User Agreements to find out how your information is used and any privacy options.
  • If you enter or upload copyrighted material into a generative AI tool, you may be protected by Fair Use if you are using the information for educational purposes and in a way that follows the University's Code of Academic Integrity. However, Fair Use can be superseded by license agreements the library has with providers which restrict how content, such as journal articles, can be used or shared.
  • Don't enter or upload copyrighted material into the prompts of any generative AI tool if you are not doing so for educational purposes. This may violate copyright. 
  • Be cautious about entering your own work into a generative AI prompt, as that material may be shared with others without acknowledging your authorship. 

Protecting Data Privacy

Information shared with AI tools using default settings is often not private and could expose proprietary or sensitive information to unauthorized parties. As with any technology, data breaches are also a risk. 

What can you do?

  • Read the Terms of Service to find out how your information is used and if there are options to make it private.
  • Don't share personally identifiable information such as addresses, emails, birthdays, passwords, etc. Also, while chat AIs can seem conversational you do not want to divulge any private information that you might share with a therapist, doctor, or other trusted human confidant. 
  • Don't enter workplace data classified as confidential (Levels 1 and 2, including non-public research data, financial data, human resources records, student records, etc.) into publicly available generative AI tools, in accordance with the University’s Information Security Policy.
  • If using AI tools to summarize meeting minutes or write emails, remove any information that could identify you or your colleagues.
  • Learn more about Digital Privacy. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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