Posts in Copyright

Thaler, Copyright Office Fight Over Human-Authorship Requirement for AI-Created Artwork Continues

On April 10, Dr. Stephen Thaler filed a reply brief  at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, continuing the artificial intelligence (AI) technologist’s legal challenge to the U.S. Copyright Office’s refusal to register copyright to an artwork generated by Thaler’s Creativity Machine. The reply brief argues that there is no human authorship requirement under the U.S. Copyright Act preventing Thaler from claiming copyright in the AI-generated work, and that standard principles of property law enables ownership of the work to vest in Thaler, who created the AI system at issue in the case.

Lidl v. Tesco: Supermarket Wars in Court

Supermarkets compete aggressively for our custom. The entry of upstart discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi into the market has created new pressures on the established brands, including Tesco— ironically, the original “pile it high and sell it cheap” operation. Supermarkets benchmark their prices against those charged by their competitors and offer loyal customers benefits, including, extremely attractive special offers when customers use their loyalty cards. They are no less aggressive when it comes to using and protecting their trademarks.

Schiff Introduces Bill to Mandate Disclosure of Copyrighted Content Used to Train GAI Models

On April 9, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act of 2024 into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which would require generative artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to disclose their use of copyrighted works in training AI models with retroactive effect, comes after months of growing concerns by the global creative community over the misappropriation of original works of authorship by companies collecting such content without prior authorization.

The Licensing Vector: A Fair Approach to Content Use in LLMs

A spate of recent lawsuits is shining light on how some generative AI (GenAI) companies are using copyrighted materials, without permission, as a core part of their products. Among the most recent examples is the New York Times Company’s’ lawsuit against OpenAI, which alleges a variety of copyright-related claims. For their part, some GenAI companies like OpenAI argue that there is no infringement, either because there is no “copying” of protected materials or that the copyright principle of fair use uniformly applies to generative AI activities. These arguments are deeply flawed and gloss over crucial technical and legal issues. They also divert attention from the fact that it is not only possible but practical to be pro-copyright and pro-AI.

Heirs to Author of Article That Inspired Top Gun Crash and Burn in California District Court

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled on Friday that Shosh Yonay and Yuval Yonay, the widow and son of Ehud Yonay, who authored a 1983 magazine article that inspired the renowned film, Top Gun, were not entitled to damages for copyright infringement related to the 2022 sequel to the film. Yonay authored a magazine article titled “Top Guns,” published in California Magazine on April 21, 1983, that was an account of the experiences of F-14 pilots in training at Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, known as “Top Gun.”

An Independent Musician’s Perspective on the TikTok Legislation Before Congress

There are many loud voices making a lot of noise about TikTok right now, and as someone who makes “noise” for a living, I thought I’d provide an independent musician’s perspective on the TikTok legislation before Congress: I hope it passes, both as an American and as a music maker. First of all, this bill restricts TikTok, it does not “ban” the app. It forces the company to cut its ties to the Chinese Communist Party and prevents them from accessing the data of Americans. That’s a good thing. The bill doesn’t mandate or regulate speech, it’s focused on national security. The threat is no secret, it’s real: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called TikTok “a clear and present danger” to our country.

Amid Approval of EU AI Act, Creators Demand Stronger Protections for Rightsholders

On March 13, the European Parliament approved the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, a major piece of legislation that lays the legal foundation of the European Union’s (EU) regulation of AI platforms. While the 459-page bill addresses some of the copyright and other intellectual property (IP) issues related to generative AI, European creator groups have called upon the EU’s parliamentary body to create more meaningful mechanisms for IP rightsholders to prevent their works from being incorporated into AI platform training models. Further, questions have been raised regarding the extraterritorial impact of reporting requirements and how they might implicate the development of copyright law in foreign jurisdictions.

Uncovering Valuable AI Assets: A Strategic Guide for AI Companies and Patent Attorneys

Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands at the forefront of innovation, transforming industries and shaping the future of global economies. Although AI innovators understand the value of intellectual property (IP) protection for their innovations, they often don’t know how to secure the right kind of IP protection for their innovations. Employing a process for systematically mining AI innovations to create a map of those innovations is one option for identifying the most suitable form(s) of IP protection to obtain, based on the innovation and the business model within which that innovation will be commercially deployed.

New York Times Hits Back at OpenAI’s Hacking Claims

In an opposition brief filed Monday, The New York Times Company (The Times) told a New York district court that OpenAI’s late February claim that The Times “paid someone to hack OpenAI’s products” in order to prove OpenAI infringed its copyrights amounts to little more than “grandstanding.” In late December 2023, the Times became the latest of many complainants to accuse OpenAI’s Large Language Model, ChatGPT, as well as Microsoft’s GPT-4-powered Bing Chat, of widespread copyright infringement. The Times alleged that Microsoft and OpenAI reproduce Times content verbatim and also often attribute false information to the Times. The Times’ opposition brief filed yesterday responds to OpenAI’s recent motion to dismiss, which alleged that The Times paid someone to target and exploit “a bug (which OpenAI has committed to addressing) by using deceptive prompts that blatantly violate OpenAI’s terms of use.”

AI Masters Panelists on State of the AI Landscape: Time for Companies to Slow Down and for Policymakers to Speed Up

Panelists on day one of IPWatchdog’s Artificial Intelligence Masters 2024 program painted a sometimes-grim picture of the current state of generative AI (GAI) tools and the ways in which they are being deployed in the United States, but seemed convinced overall that the kinks would be worked out once lawmakers and courts catch up, as they have done with past disruptive technologies.

What Can You Do if You Buy Stolen or Forged Art and Antiquities?

In February 2023, an art dealer in Palm Beach, Florida admitted to selling millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit artwork to unwitting buyers. Daniel Elie Bouaziz of Danieli Fine Art and Galerie Danieli in Palm Beach County purchased cheap reproductions online, forged provenance and authenticity paperwork, and resold the forged artworks for a hefty profit. Two months later, in April 2023, a Los Angeles-based auctioneer confessed to creating forged Basquiat pieces for display in the Orlando Museum of Art. Michael Barzman and an unidentified co-conspirator in the case created 20 to 30 of these fake paintings.

Examining the Possibility of Compulsory Copyright Licensing for LLM Training

ChatGPT and similar generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools rely on large language models (LLMs). LLMs are fed massive amounts of content, such as text, music, photographs and film, which they analyze to discover statistical relationships among these inputs. This process, describe as “training” the LLMs, gives them the ability to generate similar content and to answer questions with seeming authority. The business community, and society at large, seems convinced that AI powered by LLMs holds great promise for increases in efficiency. But multiple lawsuits alleging copyright infringement could create a drag on development of LLMs, or worse, tip the competitive balance towards offshore enterprises that enjoy the benefits of legislation authorizing text and data mining. A lot seems to hang on the question of whether LLM training involves copyright infringement or instead is a fair use of copyrighted content.

DIG, Dogs and Bad Wine: Justices Float Scrapping Warner Chappell to Consider Alternate Petition on ‘Discovery Accrual Rule’ for Copyright

Oral arguments took place today in Warner Chappell Music v. Nealy, a case that asks whether a copyright plaintiff can recover damages for acts that allegedly occurred more than three years before the filing of a lawsuit. The Justices repeatedly asked the parties involved whether they should dismiss the case as having been improvidently granted (DIG) in order to first grant and decide another pending case that directly addresses a technically peripheral, but seemingly crucial, question at issue in Warner Chappell, namely, whether the so-called discovery accrual rule applies to the Copyright Act’s statute of limitations for civil claims.  

Mechanical Licensing Collective Sues Pandora for Unpaid Royalty Fees Under MMA

On February 12, the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) filed a lawsuit against streaming music company Pandora Media in the Middle District of Tennessee seeking unpaid royalty fees for blanket licenses under the Music Modernization Act (MMA). The case, prompted by recent final determinations on blanket license royalty rates, could prove an interesting test case on the level of interactivity and personal control required before a streaming service qualifies as a covered activity under the MMA.

What Are the Risks of Generative AI for the Patent Law Profession?

For many legal professionals, artificial intelligence platforms are being adopted at a speed that they think is imprudent. Well-respected patent and intellectual property thought leaders have been very open about their concerns on this point. From client confidentiality to patentability, risks posed by the use of generative AI systems must be eliminated by AI companies themselves before they partner with the patent law profession.