We do these 6 things differently after attending the eRecht24 webinar on how to use AI content in a legally compliant way

Burkhard Pahl

If you use AIs such as ChatGPT, you have probably already asked yourself what legal consequences their use entails. If not, then now is a good time to do so!

Here you can find out what we have learned about data protection, copyright, open source and employment law and how we can use AI content in a legally compliant manner.

We attended the eRecht24 webinar “Using AI in companies in a legally compliant manner” and summarize in this article what we learned from the two lawyers Lev Lexow and Sören Siebert in this highly recommended webinar.

In a nutshell

  • Avoid processing personal or internal organizational data
  • If you modify AI-generated content to the extent that it becomes an “original creative work,” your content will also be protected by copyright.
  • Document the use of AI in your own work to maintain an overview
  • AI use for software projects based on open source code must also be placed under an open source license (particularly relevant for customer projects!)
  • Include AI use in privacy policy and terms and conditions
  • Create transparency: data processing contracts/agreements, employee policy and vis-à-vis customers
People sitting around a table with computers, with networked symbols above them.

These are the lessons we have learned:

Data processing

Data processed by AI systems always also means data processing in the legal sense. Therefore:

  • Do not enter any personal data: Since entering personal data constitutes data processing, you should really refrain from feeding such data into AI tools.
  • Protect classified/internal data of the organization: Internal organizational data should also not be passed on to AI systems without further ado in order to avoid data leaks and unauthorized access.

AI systems cannot assert their own copyrights, as copyright is reserved for humans only. This means:

  • Users are not automatically authors:Content generated by KI does not constitute copyright infringement. However, the user of the AI is not necessarily the author.
  • Customize texts: To ensure that the content created is protected by copyright, the user should adapt the AI-generated texts in such a way that original creative work is created. Once this is done, copyright law also applies.
  • Documentation of AI usage: Be sure to document which content was created with the help of AI. This could become important in the future if a labeling requirement for AI-generated content is introduced.

Open Source

If open source code is used when using AI systems in software development, certain licenses must be observed:

  • If AI-generated code is based on open source code, the resulting code must also be placed under the corresponding open source license.

Employment law – use of AI by employees

The use of AI by employees should be clearly regulated contractually and technically:

  • conclude an data processing contract/agreement with OpenAI (the company behind ChatGPT) in order to legally secure the data processing by the AI.
  • Employee policy:An internal policy for dealing with AI can reduce the organization’s liability. This should regulate how employees are allowed to use AI tools.
  • Customers:If AI is used in customer communication, the customer’s consent should be obtained. A clear Data protection declaration is essential here.

Open approach to the use of AI

Transparency is the key to the responsible use of AI:

  • Concerning data policy specify: Even if there is currently no obligation to state the use of AI in the General Terms and Conditions (GTCs), an open and honest approach is recommended. This could soon become mandatory.
  • Liability of the organization: Regardless of what the AI says or does, the entrepreneur is ultimately liable.

Looking into the crystal ball? Future legal regulations

New AI laws will come into force. It is therefore important to prepare for new legal requirements at an early stage:

  • Create an overview of AI use: An overview of which AI tools are used where and how in the organization helps to meet future labelling obligations and legal requirements.


You can find more information about the webinar and eRecht24 at https://www.e-recht24.de/. This article merely represents our personal summary and our personal understanding of the contents. It does not replace legal advice. Please contact a specialist for this.