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Sean West counsels clients on issues related to intellectual property, commercial transactions, privacy, ecommerce, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and consumer protection.

The explosive growth of generative AI has been accompanied by a corresponding growth of contractual provisions addressing generative AI issues.

Website operators in particular are increasingly seeking to use their online terms of service to prohibit the use of content and information hosted on their sites to train AI systems. Disney, for example, recently updated its online Subscriber Agreement for its Disney+ service to clarify that content from the service may not be accessed, copied, or extracted “for the purposes of creating or developing any AI Tool.”Continue Reading Does Copyright Law Preempt Contractual Provisions Imposing AI-Related Usage Restrictions on Content?

2023 was a breakout year for generative artificial intelligence (AI), but it was a rough year for protecting the content generated using such technology. The U.S. Copyright Office issued several rulings last year on the question of when works generated using AI technology are protected under U.S. copyright law, and so far, applicants have not been able to convince the Copyright Office that the AI-generated components of their works are protectable.Continue Reading Human Authorship Requirement Continues To Pose Difficulties for AI-Generated Works

The last few months have seen a flurry of activity in cases involving artificial intelligence (AI), including some of the first major rulings involving generative AI. 

Andersen et al. v. Stability AI Ltd.

As we have previously discussed, this case arose in January 2023, when a collective of artists filed a class action lawsuit involving three AI-powered image generation tools that produce images in response to text inputs: Stable Diffusion (developed by Stability AI), Midjourney (developed by Midjourney), and DreamUp (developed by DeviantArt). The plaintiffs asserted that the models powering these tools were trained using copyrighted images scraped from the internet (including their copyrighted works) without consent. The defendants filed motions to dismiss, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently issued a ruling on these motions. The court dismissed most of the plaintiffs’ claims, with only one plaintiff’s direct copyright infringement claim against Stability AI surviving. The court granted leave to amend the complaint on most counts, and the plaintiffs have since filed an amended complaint.Continue Reading Recent Rulings in AI Copyright Lawsuits Shed Some Light, but Leave Many Questions

The generative AI revolution has arrived. Will copyright law snuff it out?

Despite all the excitement surrounding generative AI tools, a cloud darkens the horizon. These tools need to be trained on massive amounts of ingested content and, according to press reports, this content is often scraped without authorization from third-party websites, raising significant copyright law issues.Continue Reading Known Unknowns: Key Unanswered Copyright Questions Raised by Generative AI

We recently attended the Annual Meeting of the Copyright Society of the USA, a two-and-a-half day, in-person conference focused on emerging issues in copyright law (perhaps the country’s largest annual get-together of copyright nerds like us). Here are our Notes from the Field on what was being discussed during—and after—the sessions that we attended.Continue Reading Notes From the Field: 2023 Annual Meeting of the Copyright Society of the USA

A surprising, unannounced collaboration between Drake and The Weeknda song called “Heart on My Sleeve”—went viral on social media a few weeks ago. It generated millions of streams across music and social media platforms, but it wasn’t Drake and The Weeknd singing on the track; rather, it was an AI-generated simulation of the two.

Here’s what happened: “Heart on My Sleeve” was written and produced by TikTok user ghostwriter977, who released the track on Spotify, YouTube, and several other platforms on April 4, 2023. The track really took off after a one-minute snippet of the song was shared on TikTok on April 15, where it would go on to receive over 15 million views. ghostwriter977 reported creating the track by using AI to replace their voice on the track with vocals that sounded like Drake and The Weeknd.Continue Reading Nice for What? AI Drake and Publicity Rights Limitations in Policing AI-Generated Content

As digital media continues to supplant physical media, e-commerce sites offering digital content have experienced unprecedented growth. These sites offer consumers access to video games, music, movies, e-books, and many other types of digital media at the click of a button. Although purchasing digital media—as opposed to physical media—has become commonplace for consumers, a recent case, McTyere et al v. Apple, Inc., suggests that consumers’ understanding of terms like “sell,” “buy,” and “purchase” have not fully caught up to our new digital reality. When a consumer buys a book in a physical bookstore, they own indefinitely the physical copy of the book that they purchased. However, when consumers click a “Buy” button on an e-book platform, they almost always receive a license to a copy of the e-book, a license that typically can be terminated by the e-book platform or the book’s publisher under certain circumstances. McTyere has highlighted this important legal distinction between buying physical and digital media and raises the question of whether it is deceptive to describe the licensing of rights to digital media using the same terminology as has traditionally been used to describe the sale of books, CDs, DVDs, and other physical goods.Continue Reading Buy Today, Gone Tomorrow: Is a “Buy” Button for Digital Content Deceptive?

We’re happy to make available to Age of Disruption readers part two of our three-part series on key legal issues surrounding generative artificial intelligence (AI).     

As the quality of generative AI tools has soared, copyright and other intellectual property issues raised by such tools have attracted increased attention. Some artists, creators, and performers, fearing

There have been two important developments in recent weeks regarding the U.S. Copyright Office’s position on registering works created by the use of artificial intelligence technology. First, on February 21, the Copyright Office issued its much-anticipated decision regarding the registration of a graphic novel by artist Kristina Kashtanova that included images generated using the AI

The subscription economy exploded during the pandemic and is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025. Subscriptions to streaming services passed 1 billion worldwide in the middle of 2020. More than two-thirds of Americans now use a subscription service for everyday household items from food and beverages to home goods and personal-care products. Subscription boxes have made a comeback in beauty, wellness, and apparel.Continue Reading Time to Renew Your Interest in Automatic Subscription Renewal Laws