Understanding IP Matters: Create, Invent, Track — Managing Digital Rights for IP and AI Value

If you don’t know how your intellectual property is being used, when, or by whom, you have little control over it — and are less likely to be paid.

The field of digital rights management evolved from the need to track and protect how intangible property, specifically data and software, is accessed at scale. Today, innovative companies like Intertrust Technologies are using the technology to authenticate access and create digital value chains for copyrights, especially audio and visual content, and other assets.

“Will AI enable or challenge digital rights management?” asks Bruce Berman, host of  the podcast Understanding IP Matters. To find out, he interviews two longtime experts in developing inventions, making music and managing rights on Episode 9 of Season 3.

Talal Shamoon has been CEO of Intertrust Technologies since 2003, when Sony and Phillips acquired the early pioneer of digital rights management. Last year alone, InterTrust issued over 20 billion DRM licenses. He is an inventor, Silicon Valley executive, computer scientist, entrepreneur, and author who holds a PhD, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

Albhy Galuten is a technology executive, futurist, inventor, Grammy award-winning record producer, composer, musician, and conductor. Albie invented and developed the Enhanced CD, which is used and distributed by all major music labels. He served as Senior VP of Advanced Technology at Universal Music Group, where he started and ran the music industry’s first technology division.

Talal explains the origin of digital rights management and how Intertrust invented the technology’s underlying concept, which relates to the protection and management of data.

“Digital rights management is a computing technology that lives inside operating systems, cloud computing systems, computers, hardware, and software that allows you to govern data and software, explains Shamoon. “It allows you to authenticate programs and people and machines that are touching the data and the software that requires protected computing environments.”

Key Responses 

Albhy, you’re known as a futurist. What does the future look like for technology in general and recording in particular? Will AI play a role?

Albhy Galuten: “AI will play a huge role. I’ve been — fortunately or unfortunately — on many panels recently with technology people and creators, and they’re always sort of at odds with each other. When the drum machine came out in the late seventies, early eighties, they used to say that it wouldn’t put drummers out of work.

Of course, that’s not true. Today, there are far fewer drummers than there ever were. Most of them lost their jobs. The great drummers, the Steve Gadds, the Jeff Prokaros of the world, always worked.

This will be similar with AI. The people in the middle positions — the people who are just doing sort of the yeoman’s work, the stuff that can be automated — their jobs are clearly at risk. If you’re really inventive and original…. No AI is going to replace Taylor Swift. I could talk about this for hours.

For me, there are two overarching factors. One is that AI only learns from the past. It is never really creative. No AI in 1961 would have ever come up with The Beatles. So, though it’s an incredible tool, it’s like when they invented the typewriter or the word processor. It is amazing. It’ll be used by lots of musicians, but it will not break the barriers of creating new things.

Candidly, my biggest worry about AI is that we run the risk of losing apprenticeship. Today, people learn their craft — whether it’s the legal craft or the business craft or if you want to become a film producer — you start by doing coverage of other people’s scripts. If the low level jobs are done by AI, then we lose our apprenticeship. That would be a great loss.”

Talal Shamoon: “To double click on what Albhy is saying… You can’t fight AI. This is the arrow of progress, and I think the net result is going to be positive. It will lift us up as a species. There will be a lot of sausage meat that needs to go into the casing and a lot of people will be unhappy. But fundamentally, these technologies will remove a lot of the drudgery from people’s day to day and really allow human beings to focus on much more creative endeavors….

I would love to see somebody write an AI that could help patent examiners do a better job. It’s hard to be a patent examiner, given the number of human beings on the planet, the number of ideas they have, and the number of patents that get filed, so tools that help patent examiners operate more efficiently would be terrific. Think of it as a Bloomberg terminal for a patent examination. That would be super cool, and it would improve the patent quality dramatically.”

Albhy, you recently told Dan Griffiths that AI will not destroy the music industry. The music industry is about relating to people and being fans of artists who are doing something or saying something. There’s no question that the deck will be shuffled and a lot of occupations will have to migrate, but we will always have our love connecting with humans through music. That’s essentially what you’re talking about, right?

Albhy Galuten: “That’s true for everything we have. Not to get too uber on you, but what are our goals as humanity? Is it just to make everything more efficient? If you make it so that you’re hunter-gatherers and the food shows up automatically, you don’t have to buy anything, you don’t have to make anything, you don’t have to print anything — what’s your life worth?

The greatest joy in music, if you’re a musician, is making music with other musicians. I stopped making records mostly because computers made it less fun. It was brilliant to be on the floor with four or five musicians playing with arrangements and coming up with parts.

I never go to large concerts. I go to shows where you see the looks on the people’s face — where what they play tonight is different from what they played last night. I want that human connection.

What AI will probably point out to humans is how important this human connection is, and hopefully there’ll be a resurgence of more personal behavior.”

You’re saying that AI may actually humanize music and performance more than it is currently.

Albhy Galuten: “Absolutely. Where we are today is the value of music is viewed as a commodity. You create something that you can sell more copies of. It’s the commodity piece that will be commoditized, and AI will do that. We just need to get back to the original piece and the connecting piece, the telling you my life story. That’s always going to mean something to people.”

More Highlights

Listen to the entire episode to learn why banking and entertainment media are typically the first adopters of distruptive technologies and to hear about the role of emotional intelligence in music-making.


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