MONOLITH LAW OFFICE+81-3-6262-3248Weekdays 10:00-18:00 JST



Is Commercial Use of ChatGPT Possible? A Lawyer Explains Copyright Issues


Is Commercial Use of ChatGPT Possible? A Lawyer Explains Copyright Issues

Since its release in November 2022, the natural language generation AI, ChatGPT, has been garnering attention. Many are considering whether they can leverage its ability to swiftly respond to questions across various fields with sophisticated prose for commercial use.

Commercial use of ChatGPT is possible, provided that the rules are followed. This article is aimed at those who are contemplating incorporating ChatGPT into their business, and it will explain the benefits and important considerations. We will also present some examples of actual commercial use, which you may find informative.

Is Commercial Use of ChatGPT Possible?

To get straight to the point, ChatGPT can indeed be used for commercial purposes. Utilizing it commercially can lead to benefits such as improved productivity and reduced labor costs in business. Anyone can easily start using ChatGPT by registering an account. While it is possible to use it for free, opting for the more advanced model, GPT-4, enables the use of not only text data but also image data.

There are already companies in Japan that have implemented ChatGPT.

In May 2023,, which offers online legal consultations conducted by attorneys, announced the trial launch of its AI chat service, ‘ Chat Legal Consultation (Alpha Version)[ja]‘ utilizing ChatGPT.

Examples of Commercial Use of ChatGPT

Examples of commercial use of ChatGPT

ChatGPT, a natural language generation AI, can be commercially utilized for purposes such as:

  • Writing assistance
  • Customer support
  • Software development
  • Chatbot construction

ChatGPT excels at generating text and is capable of producing natural language expressions akin to a human. Therefore, it can also be used for creating web content to attract customers to your business.

In addition, it can be leveraged for writing blog articles, summarizing texts, and translating foreign languages. Automating customer support with ChatGPT allows for 24/7/365 responsiveness to customer inquiries, eliminating the need to staff call centers with employees on standby.

Commercial Use of ChatGPT and Copyright Issues

In principle, commercial use of ChatGPT in accordance with its terms of service is acceptable; however, it is important to be cautious of copyright issues.

No Issues with OpenAI’s Terms of Use

Users who create text using ChatGPT do not grant copyright to OpenAI, the operator of ChatGPT. OpenAI’s terms of use explicitly state that all rights to the text and content generated by ChatGPT through user input are transferred to the user.

As between the parties and to the extent permitted by applicable law, you own all Input. Subject to your compliance with these Terms, OpenAI hereby assigns to you all its right, title, and interest in and to Output. This means you can use Content for any purpose, including commercial purposes such as sale or publication, if you comply with these Terms.
Source: OpenAI Terms of Use[ja]

In June 2023, the Agency for Cultural Affairs held a copyright seminar where they presented their view on the relationship between AI and copyright. According to their interpretation, the assessment of copyright infringement at the ‘generation and use stage’ is the same as conventional copyright infringement, except where use is permitted under ‘limitations on copyright’ (Articles 30 to 47-8 of the Japanese Copyright Law). Furthermore, if similarity or dependency between the generated content and copyrighted work is recognized, the copyright holder may claim damages for copyright infringement and seek an injunction, and it may also be subject to criminal penalties.

Reference: Agency for Cultural Affairs|Reiwa 5 (2023) Copyright Seminar ‘AI and Copyright'[ja]

Additionally, OpenAI’s terms specify that ‘if someone else holds the copyright to the text input by the user, the situation is different.’ This means that if text copyrighted by another party is entered into the ChatGPT chat interface and used to generate content, there is a possibility that it may infringe upon someone else’s copyright.

The Possibility of Inclusion of Third-Party Copyrighted Works in Training Data

On the other hand, it is conceivable that the information used by ChatGPT for machine learning may include copyrighted works of others.

ChatGPT collects a vast amount of information from the internet, among other sources, for its learning process. If the data used for learning contains someone’s copyrighted work, we cannot deny the possibility that the content generated from that information might infringe upon the copyright holder’s rights.

For instance, in February 2023, major media outlets and creators, including the American Wall Street Journal and CNN, protested against OpenAI, claiming that their articles and works were being used without permission, thus violating their intellectual property rights.

However, whether the inclusion of copyrighted works in ChatGPT’s training data leads to copyright issues is a matter of interpretation that even experts are divided on.

Reference: OpenAI Is Faulted by Media for Using Articles to Train ChatGPT|Bloomberg[ja]

Key Points to Consider When Using ChatGPT for Commercial Purposes

Key Points to Consider When Using ChatGPT for Commercial Purposes

Unfortunately, ChatGPT is not infallible. When using ChatGPT for commercial purposes, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Information inputted may be used as training data for ChatGPT
  • The information outputted may not be accurate, thus requiring human verification

Do Not Input Personal or Confidential Information

When utilizing ChatGPT, it is crucial to avoid inputting personal or confidential information to prevent data leaks and dissemination.

According to Chapter 3 of OpenAI’s Terms of Service:

OpenAI may use Content to provide and maintain the Services, comply with applicable law, and enforce our policies.
OpenAI Terms of Service[ja]

This means that the content inputted into ChatGPT could potentially be utilized as training data.

In March 2023, a major South Korean company, Samsung, allowed the use of ChatGPT internally, which led to the discovery of two incidents of equipment information leaks and one incident of leaked meeting details within their semiconductor division. The company immediately prohibited the use of ChatGPT internally following these events.

Not only in South Korea, but also in the United States, major banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs have significantly restricted their employees’ use of ChatGPT.

The Information Outputted May Be Inappropriate in Content or Expression

ChatGPT does not always provide answers that align with the user’s intentions. AI cannot consider whether the text it generates is ethically correct, nor can it distinguish between fact and fake news. Since ChatGPT learns from vast amounts of data, the training data may contain biased, discriminatory, or violent expressions.

While OpenAI is cautious in addressing the issue of inappropriate outputs, their measures are not foolproof. It is essential to verify whether the outputted content is accurate and does not violate public order and morals through human review.

Furthermore, ChatGPT merely displays results that it has probabilistically analyzed as ‘likely correct’ based on its training data. Therefore, in situations requiring specialized knowledge, expert verification is always necessary.

Benefits of Commercial Use of ChatGPT

Benefits of Commercial Use of ChatGPT

Utilizing ChatGPT for commercial purposes offers significant benefits such as enhanced productivity and cost reduction. Moreover, by integrating ChatGPT’s capabilities into your products or services, you can expect an improvement in service quality.

Leads to Overwhelming Improvements in Work Efficiency

Commercial use of ChatGPT can lead to a substantial increase in work efficiency.

  • Composing business emails
  • English translation
  • Summarizing documents
  • Report generation
  • Code bug checking
  • Creating operational manuals, etc.

By delegating tasks that were previously handled manually as routine work to ChatGPT, you can drastically reduce the time spent on these tasks. ChatGPT can also help prevent careless mistakes such as typos and misspellings.

Leads to Cost Reductions, Including Labor Costs

By having ChatGPT perform tasks that were previously done by humans, you can achieve a reduction in labor costs.

For example, if you implement ChatGPT in telephone operator tasks, you can automate responses that operators used to handle one by one, saving a significant amount of time and human resources.

Furthermore, by incorporating ChatGPT’s capabilities into your own products and training it with anticipated questions and answers, users can resolve issues on their own, potentially reducing the number of inquiries. Efficient use of ChatGPT can allow you to operate with fewer staff than before, leading to further cost savings, including labor costs.

Enhances Support Systems

With the advancement of ChatGPT integration, 24/7 customer support in any language becomes possible.

Traditional customer support services faced time constraints and language barriers. However, ChatGPT supports over 100 languages, including English and Japanese, allowing you to respond to customer inquiries without feeling the language barrier.

Additionally, since AI does not require rest, it can provide uninterrupted customer support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Conclusion: Consult with Experts for Commercial Use of ChatGPT

Commercial use of ChatGPT is possible. By incorporating ChatGPT into business operations, tasks that were previously performed by humans can be automated, potentially leading to cost savings in areas such as labor expenses.

However, caution must be exercised regarding information leaks and copyright infringement. If the prompts inputted into ChatGPT contain copyrighted material, the output generated could potentially infringe on someone else’s copyright. Additionally, it is important to be aware that the information inputted could be used as training data for ChatGPT.

Furthermore, OpenAI’s terms of service include rules regarding commercial use, and these terms are frequently updated. To ensure that there are no issues with the way ChatGPT is used commercially, it is advisable to consult with experts beforehand.

Guidance on Measures by Our Firm

Monolith Law Office is a law firm with extensive experience in both IT, particularly the internet, and legal matters. The AI business is fraught with numerous legal risks, and the support of attorneys well-versed in AI-related legal issues is essential. Our firm provides sophisticated legal support for AI businesses, including those involving ChatGPT, through a team of AI-knowledgeable attorneys and engineers. Our services include contract drafting, legality reviews of business models, intellectual property protection, and privacy compliance. Please refer to the article below for more details.

Areas of practice at Monolith Law Office: AI (including ChatGPT) Legal Affairs[ja]

Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

The Editor in Chief: Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

An expert in IT-related legal affairs in Japan who established MONOLITH LAW OFFICE and serves as its managing attorney. Formerly an IT engineer, he has been involved in the management of IT companies. Served as legal counsel to more than 100 companies, ranging from top-tier organizations to seed-stage Startups.

Return to Top