Monday, April 17, 2023

Rise of the machines: Copyright in a world of AI; Phoenix Business Journal, April 17, 2023

Daniel Restrepo – Fennemore, Phoenix Business Journal; Rise of the machines: Copyright in a world of AI

"Recognizing the blend of human and automated works

In remedying these conflicts, courts have a few options before them. Courts can declare all works using AI fall into the public domain on the grounds that they do not meet the creative, original or human-created requirements, or they could simply grant AI works copyright protection as a matter of course. However, the former would disincentivize AI development and the latter would disincentivize human creativity. 

The third and more likely solution is somewhere in the middle, granting limited protection in AI works based on the degree of human involvement. The Copyright Office has recently taken this approach regarding an application for the comic book “Zarya of the Dawn,” granting rights to the human author’s writing and arrangement of AI-generated drawings, but not to the AI drawings themselves. This gradient, while perhaps frustrating to those who want greater clarity, is useful in determining the rights in the final product."

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Who Owns a Song Created by A.I.?; The New York Times, April 15, 2023

Ephrat LivniLauren Hirsch and  The New York Times; Who Owns a Song Created by A.I.?

"Who owns the output of generative A.I.? For now, only a human’s work can be copyrighted, but what about work that partly relies on generative A.I.? Some tool developers have said they won’t assert copyright over content generated by their machines. In February, the Copyright Office rejected a copyright for A.I.-generated images in a graphic novel, though the writer argued that she had made the images via “a creative, iterative process” that involved “composition, selection, arrangement, cropping and editing for each image.” The government compared use of the A.I. tool to hiring an artist. But the lines may blur as the use of such tools becomes more common. Like the tools, the intellectual property issues are a work in progress that will only get more complex."

Friday, April 14, 2023

Keeping Your Trade Secrets a Secret: Three Common Myths about Trade Secret Protection that could put your Business's Trade Secrets at Risk; Lexology, April 10, 2023

Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC - Richard Hathaway, Lexology; Keeping Your Trade Secrets a Secret: Three Common Myths about Trade Secret Protection that could put your Business's Trade Secrets at Risk

"This blog post will address three common myths many business leaders have about protecting their trade secrets. 

Myth Number One: All Confidential Information is a Trade Secret.

Not all of your business's confidential information qualifies for trade secret protection. It's essential to understand the distinction between confidential information and trade secrets. While all trade secrets contain confidential information, not all confidential information qualifies as a trade secret. If you graphed these concepts as a Venn diagram, your business's trade secrets would be the smaller circle inside the more prominent "confidential information" circle. 

Under most Uniform Trade Secret Acts adopted by individual states and the federal Defense of Trade Secrets Act, to be considered a trade secret, the business information must:

  • Have economic value derived from not being generally known or easily discoverable; and
  • Be subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. 

Common examples of legally recognized trade secrets include proprietary formulas, manufacturing processes, pricing lists, and customer lists. However, general business information, employee data, or other information your business keeps from prying eyes may only meet the criteria for trade secret protection if it has a competitive economic use for your business. Knowing the difference between these essential concepts is critical to understanding where your business should focus its limited resources to protect its trade secrets."

How We Think About Copyright and AI Art; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), April 3, 2023

 KIT WALSH, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); How We Think About Copyright and AI Art

"Currently, copyright law protects artists who are influenced by colleagues and mentors and the media they admire by permitting them to mimic elements of others’ work as long as their art isn’t “substantially similar” and/or is a fair use. Thus, the same legal doctrines that give artists the breathing room to find inspiration in others’ works also protect diffusion models. Rewriting those doctrines could cause harm far beyond any damage Stable Diffusion is causing.

In our companion blog post, we explore some of the other consequences. In particular, we discuss who would likely benefit from such a regime (spoiler: it’s not individual creators). We also discuss some alternative approaches that might actually help creators.

Done right, copyright law is supposed to encourage new creativity. Stretching it to outlaw tools like AI image generatorsor to effectively put them in the exclusive hands of powerful economic actors who already use that economic muscle to squeeze creatorswould have the opposite effect."

Thursday, April 13, 2023

To Ingrain AI Ethics, We Should Get Creative About Copyrights; Undark Magazine, April 13, 2023

 CASON SCHMIT & JENNIFER WAGNER, Undark Magazine; To Ingrain AI Ethics, We Should Get Creative About Copyrights

"What’s clear, however, is that the risk of doing nothing is tremendous. AI is rapidly evolving and disrupting existing systems and structures in unpredictable ways. We need disruptive innovation in AI policy perhaps even more than we need disruption in the technology itself — and AI creators and users must be willing participants in this endeavor. Efforts to grapple with the ethical, legal, social, and policy issues around AI must be viewed not as a luxury but as a necessity, and as an integral part of AI design. Otherwise, we run the risk of letting industry set the terms of AI’s future, and we leave individuals, groups, and even our very democracy vulnerable to its whims."

Monday, April 10, 2023

Generative AI Has an Intellectual Property Problem; Harvard Business Review, April 7, 2023

Gil Appel, Juliana Neelbauer, and David A. SchweidelHarvard Business Review; Generative AI Has an Intellectual Property Problem

"This isn’t the first time technology and copyright law have crashed into each other. Google successfully defended itself against a lawsuit by arguing that transformative use allowed for the scraping of text from books to create its search engine, and for the time being, this decision remains precedential.

But there are other, non-technological cases that could shape how the products of generative AI are treated. A case before the U.S. Supreme Court against the Andy Warhol Foundation — brought by photographer Lynn Goldsmith, who had licensed an image of the late musician, Prince— could refine U.S. copyright law on the issue of when a piece of art is sufficiently different from its source material to become unequivocally “transformative,” and whether a court can consider the meaning of the derivative work when it evaluates that transformation. If the court finds that the Warhol piece is not a fair use, it could mean trouble for AI-generated works.

All this uncertainty presents a slew of challenges for companies that use generative AI. There are risks regarding infringement — direct or unintentional — in contracts that are silent on generative AI usage by their vendors and customers. If a business user is aware that training data might include unlicensed works or that an AI can generate unauthorized derivative works not covered by fair use, a business could be on the hook for willful infringement, which can include damages up to $150,000 for each instance of knowing use. There’s also the risk of accidentally sharing confidential trade secrets or business information by inputting data into generative AI tools."

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Zoom Panel: Haven’t We Been Here Before: A Panel Discussion on Banning LGBTQIA+ Books. Wednesday, April 5. 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM EDT. University of Pittsburgh

Haven’t We Been Here Before: A Panel Discussion on Banning LGBTQIA+ Books. Wednesday, April 5. 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM EDT. University of Pittsburgh

[This session will be live via Zoom and also recorded for asynchronous viewing, following processing by Pitt. See registration link.]

There has been a recent uptick in attempts to remove or ban certain books from schools, public libraries and other educational spaces. In 2022 alone, 4 in 10 banned books contained LGBTQIA+ themes and representation, according to PEN America, a nonprofit organization that works to defend and celebrate free expression through the advancement of literature and human rights. 

Join the University Library System and the Pitt Queer Professionals for a lively virtual panel discussion with education, literary and legal experts on intellectual freedom and the societal impact of banning books. Guest panelists will be Dr. James “Kip” Currier, Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information (SCI) in the Information Culture and Data Stewardship (ICDS) Department, Dr. Katrina Bartow Jacobs, Associate Professor of Practice of Language, Literacy, and Culture within the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading and Jeff Trexler, Interim Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an American non-profit organization formed to protect the First Amendment rights of comics creators, publishers, and retailers. The panel will be moderated by Acacia O’Connor (they/them/theirs) currently the University’s Executive Director of Social Media, and former manager of the Kids’ Right to Read Project of the National Coalition Against Censorship.  

Dial-In Information

Register at to an external site.

Wednesday, April 5 at 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

 Virtual Event

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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Publishers beat Internet Archive as judge rules e-book lending violates copyright; Ars Technica, March 27, 2023

, Ars Technica; Publishers beat Internet Archive as judge rules e-book lending violates copyright

Internet Archive: Judge’s copyright ruling is a “blow to all libraries.”

"On Friday, a US district judge ruled in favor of book publishers suing the Internet Archive (IA) for copyright infringement. The IA’s Open Library project—which partners with libraries to scan print books in their collections and offer them as lendable e-books—had no right to reproduce 127 of the publishers’ books named in the suit, judge John Koeltl decided."

Friday, March 24, 2023

Can you copyright a rhythm? Inside the reggaeton lawsuit that could shake the pop world; The Guardian, March 22, 2023

Saxon Baird, The Guardian; Can you copyright a rhythm? Inside the reggaeton lawsuit that could shake the pop world

"While rhythms are not generally protected under copyright law in the US, a rhythm may be copyrighted if it can be proved that it is substantially unique or original."

AI and Copyright: Human Artistry Campaign Launches to Support Songwriters and Musicians’ Rights; Variety, March 17, 2023

 Jim Aswad, Variety; AI and Copyright: Human Artistry Campaign Launches to Support Songwriters and Musicians’ Rights

"A new coalition to meet those challenges called the Human Artistry Campaign was announced at the South by Southwest conference on Thursday, with support from more than 40 organizations, including the Recording Academy, the National Music Publishers Association, the Recording Industry of America and many others.  

With a stated goal “to ensure artificial intelligence technologies are developed and used in ways that support human culture and artistry – and not ways that replace or erode it,” the organization outlined principles advocating AI best practices, “emphasizing respect for artists, their work, and their personas; transparency; and adherence to existing law including copyright and intellectual property,” which are outlined in full below. The campaign urges supporters to sign a petition to advance those principles."

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Why the Internet Archive’s copyright battle is likely to come to a very bad end; Media Nation, March 21, 2023

DAN KENNEDY, Media Nation ; Why the Internet Archive’s copyright battle is likely to come to a very bad end

"The Archive ramped up its lending during the COVID-19 pandemic and has not cut back even though life has more or less returned to normal. The Archive argues that it’s doing what any library does — it’s lending books that it owns, and it’s controlling how many people can borrow a book at any given time. In other words, it’s not simply making electronic versions of its books available for mass download. That may show some desire to act responsibly on the Archive’s part, but that doesn’t make it legal."

Jack Daniel's tells Supreme Court its brand is harmed by dog toy Bad Spaniels; NPR, March 22, 2023

, NPR ; Jack Daniel's tells Supreme Court its brand is harmed by dog toy Bad Spaniels

"This case involves the federal trademark statutes and whether and when parody is protected speech. The whiskey company claims that the imitation Bad Spaniels bottle has appropriated the iconic Jack Daniel's design for just one purpose, to sell a chewy dog toy. And by doing that, the company claims, Jack's property rights have been infringed, even if the chewy dog toy is expressive."

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

UVM Extension: Plants and intellectual property; Rutland Herald, March 18, 2023

Nadie Vanzandt, Rutland Herald; UVM Extension: Plants and intellectual property

"On May 23, 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed into law a bill called the Plant Patent Act. This bill was created to encourage private investment in plant breeding while protecting growers who spent extensive time (sometimes years) and money perfecting a cultivar only to have their invention freely reproduced and sold by others for profit."

Monday, March 20, 2023

Book publishers with surging profits struggle to prove Internet Archive hurt sales; Ars Technica, March 20, 2023

 , Ars Technica; Book publishers with surging profits struggle to prove Internet Archive hurt sales

"Today, the Internet Archive (IA) defended its practice of digitizing books and lending those e-books for free to users of its Open Library. In 2020, four of the wealthiest book publishers sued IA, alleging this kind of digital lending was actually “willful digital piracy” causing them “massive harm.”"

Free textbooks? It could soon be a reality at California’s community colleges; Capital Public Radio, March 14, 2023

Alyssa StoryCarmen Gonz├ílez. Capital Public Radio; Free textbooks? It could soon be a reality at California’s community colleges

"California college students spend on average $938 per year on textbooks and materials, according to the California Student Aid Commission’s 2021-2022 Student Expenses and Resources Survey

One idea under consideration by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is to fund community colleges to produce their own textbooks. The system must decide how to spend $115 million in state funds set aside to reduce the burden of textbook costs. Every community college will receive $20,000 to design zero-textbook-cost programs and an additional $180,000 to implement them. Some colleges will also get larger, competitive grants. 

Colleges could spend the money on anything from publishing their own textbooks to using free, publicly available textbooks — known as “open educational resources” — created by professors at other schools. They could also simply give some students money to buy traditional textbooks."

DC Dubliner sues Boston pub with same name for trademark infringement, report says; Mass Live, March 17, 2023

, Mass Live; DC Dubliner sues Boston pub with same name for trademark infringement, report says

"In the tale of two Dubliners, the almost-half-century-old Washington, D.C., Dubliner pub is suing a newly opened Boston pub of the same name over trademark infringement and claiming that another pub with the same name would cause confusion, according to Universal Hub’s reporting. 

The Washington Dubliner’s suit against the East Coast Tavern Group requests that it change the Boston pub’s name and transfer its profits made under the Dubliner name to the D.C. establishment."

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Internet Archive Is a Library; Inside Higher Ed, March 17, 2023

Dave HansenDeborah JakubsChris BourgThomas LeonardJeff MacKie-MasonJoseph A. Salem Jr.MacKenzie Smith, and Winston Tabb, Inside Higher Ed; The Internet Archive Is a Library

"Why is it so important to the publishers that the Internet Archive not be identified as a library? Primarily because Congress has long recognized the valuable role that libraries play in our copyright system and has created special allowances in the law for their work. In this suit, the publishers seek to redefine the Internet Archive on their own terms and, in so doing, deny it the ability to leverage the same legal tools that thousands of other libraries use to lend and disseminate materials to our users.

The argument that the Internet Archive isn’t a library is wrong. If this argument is accepted, the results would jeopardize the future development of digital libraries nationwide. The Internet Archive is the most significant specialized library to emerge in decades. It is one of the only major memory institutions to be created from the emergence of the internet. It is, and continues to be, a modern-day cultural institution built intentionally in response to the technological revolution through which we’ve lived."

NASA unveils new spacesuit specially tailored for lunar wear; The Business Standard, March 18, 2023

 Reuters via The Business Standard; NASA unveils new spacesuit specially tailored for lunar wear

"The precise look of the suits, however, remained a closely guarded trade secret. Those on display came with an outer layer that was charcoal grey with dashes of orange and blue and Axiom's logo on the chest - intended to obscure Axiom's proprietary outer fabric design."

Cher’s Royalties Lawsuit Against Sonny Bono’s Widow Can Move Forward, Judge Says; Billboard, March 17, 2023

BILL DONAHUE, Billboard; Cher’s Royalties Lawsuit Against Sonny Bono’s Widow Can Move Forward, Judge Says

"Sonny and Cher started performing together in 1964 and married in 1967, rising to fame with major hits like “I Got You Babe,” “The Beat Goes On” and “Baby Don’t Go.” But the pair split up in 1974, finalizing their divorce with a settlement agreement in 1978. Under that deal, Sonny retained ownership of their music rights, but Cher was granted a half-share of all royalties.

Bono died in 1998 as the result of a skiing accident, leaving Mary in control of those copyrights. And in 2016, she invoked the termination right — a provision of the federal Copyright Act that allows creators or their heirs to win back control of rights they signed away decades prior. Mary sent such notices to Sonny and Cher’s publishers, taking back full control of those copyrights.

Five years later, Cher filed her lawsuit — seeking a ruling that the divorce agreement was still in effect and that she was still owed her 50% cut of royalties, regardless of who owns the copyrights now. Mary then fired back a few months later, arguing that the case should be dismissed. Her lawyers said that termination rights were designed to trump all preexisting agreements, including a divorce agreement.

“Cher’s position would subvert Congress’ intent in enacting the copyright termination provisions: to ensure that authors and authors’ heirs, not grantees or ex-spouses, would benefit from the extended term of copyright,” Bono’s attorneys wrote in December 2021."

Friday, March 17, 2023

Dog Toys, Drugs Lead Supreme Court’s High-Stakes IP Arguments; Bloomberg Law, March 17, 2023

Kelcee Griffis and Kyle Jahner, Bloomberg LawDog Toys, Drugs Lead Supreme Court’s High-Stakes IP Arguments

"The US Supreme Court is set to weigh three high-profile intellectual property cases in a seven-day stretch testing the bounds of branded parodies, broad drug patent claims, and international application of trademark law.

The arguments could result in rulings with wide-ranging impacts on areas including First Amendment expression, pharmaceutical research and development, and damages calculations. The US solicitor general will argue in all three cases, signaling the government’s strong interest in their outcomes.

Here’s what to expect during the high court’s blockbuster IP week."

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Copyright Registration Guidance: Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence; Federal Register, March 16, 2023

Federal Register; Copyright Registration Guidance: Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence


The Copyright Office issues this statement of policy to clarify its practices for examining and registering works that contain material generated by the use of artificial intelligence technology."

Copyright Report Says AI-Assisted Works Can Be Protected – But Only If A Human Was Still In Charge; Billboard, March 15, 2023

BILL DONAHUE, Billboard; Copyright Report Says AI-Assisted Works Can Be Protected – But Only If A Human Was Still In Charge

"A new policy report from the U.S. Copyright Office says that songs and other artistic works created with the assistance of artificial intelligence can sometimes be eligible for copyright registration, but only if the ultimate author remains a human being.

The report, released by the federal agency on Wednesday (March 15), comes amid growing interest in the future role that could be played in the creation of music by so-called generative AI tools — similar to the much-discussed ChatGPT...

Under the rules laid out in the report, the Copyright Office said that anyone submitting such works must disclose which elements were created by AI and which were created by a human. The agency said that any AI-inclusive work that was previously registered without such a disclosure must be updated — and that failure to do so could result in the cancellation of the copyright registration.

Though aimed at providing guidance, Wednesday’s report avoided hard-and-fast rules. It stressed that analyzing copyright protection for AI-assisted works would be “necessarily a case-by-case inquiry,” and that the final outcome would always depend on individual circumstances, including “how the AI tool operates” and “how it was used to create the final work.”

And the report didn’t even touch on a potentially thornier legal question: whether the creators of AI platforms infringe the copyrights of the vast number of earlier works that are used to “train” the platforms to spit out new works."

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Trump Gets Copyright Law Wrong While Defending Release of Jay Leno Letters; Newsweek, March 15, 2023

, Newsweek; Trump Gets Copyright Law Wrong While Defending Release of Jay Leno Letters

"Jane C. Ginsburg, professor of literary and artistic property Law at Columbia University School of Law in New York, previously told Newsweek that the principle that the writers of letters, not the recipients, retain the copyright in the text has been "well-established in copyright law" for hundreds of years.

"Going back to a famous case from 1741, in which poet Alexander Pope sued Edmond Curll for publishing Pope's letters," Ginsburg said. "Pope prevailed. Lord Justice Hardwick announced a distinction between the 'property of the paper' which belonged to the recipient of the letters, and the property in the words, which remained with the writer.""

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The 1954 Liz Taylor movie, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" entered the public domain 10 years early because the copyright notice had an error; BoingBoing, March 14, 2023

, BoingBoing; The 1954 Liz Taylor movie, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" entered the public domain 10 years early because the copyright notice had an error

"According to Wikipedia, The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954), is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Babylon Revisited." It stars Elizabeth Taylor, Van Johnson, Walter Pidgeon, Donna Reed, Eva Gabor, Kurt Kasznar, and Roger Moore and has 2.9 out of 5 stars on Letterboxd. It looks like it's worth watching just because Elizabeth Taylor is so beautiful.

The film entered the public domain 10 years early because someone at the studio goofed when they added the Roman numerals to the copyright notice."

How to Type the Copyright (©) Symbol; IT Pro Today, March 11, 2023

Henry Chapman, IT Pro Today; How to Type the Copyright (©) Symbol

"You don’t need any special intellectual property to type the copyright symbol or sign (©) in a Microsoft Word document, on a Mac, or on an iOS or Android device.

Learn each easy method below."

Opinion: To protect human artistry from AI, new safeguards might be essential; The Washington Post, March 13, 2023

Jonathan Taplin
, The Washington Post ; Opinion: To protect human artistry from AI, new safeguards might be essential

"Yet a nation’s cultural life is not a minor matter, and preserving artists’ rights is essential to ensuring their continued contribution. Any reasonable interpretation of existing copyright law ought to protect against abuses, but that doesn’t always happen. A case now before the Supreme Court involving the artist Andy Warhol’s unauthorized use of a photographer’s image of the musician Prince could dictate the direction copyright law will take in the coming years.

But another solution may be needed: new laws and regulations governing AI and safeguarding the human core of creative artistry.

As the physicist Stephen Hawking wrote, “If a superior alien civilization sent us a message saying, ‘We’ll arrive in a few decades,’ would we just reply, ‘OK, call us when you get here – we’ll leave the lights on’? Probably not – but this is more or less what is happening with AI.” That was nine years ago. It’s still happening."

Monday, March 13, 2023

Patents, spy balloons and outcompeting China: What our leaders are missing; The Hill, March 12, 2023

PAUL R. MICHEL AND MATTHEW J. DOWD, The Hill; Patents, spy balloons and outcompeting China: What our leaders are missing

"For all of U.S. history, patents have provided the needed incentives. Without reliable patent protection, few corporate decision-makers or venture capital leaders would make the investments to support the breakthroughs.

And now, more breakthroughs are exactly what America needs to counter China’s accelerating technology surge. Think computer chips, genetic and personalized medicine, clean energy, artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies of the 21st century.

But we’re starting to lag behind China, which is devoting untold resources toward becoming the global leader. A recent Harvard Kennedy School report warned that China is set to overtake the United States, if U.S. policy does not change."

The top 10 drugs losing US exclusivity in 2023; Fierce Pharma, March 13, 2023

Fraiser Kansteiner, Eric Sagonowsky, Zoey Becker, Kevin Dunleavy, Angus Liu, Fierce Pharma; The top 10 drugs losing US exclusivity in 2023

"Across the industry this year, big-selling drugs from Johnson & Johnson, Takeda, AstraZeneca, Roche and other companies are set to face their first generic or biosimilar challengers in the U.S. As always, the patent expirations should create quite a shake-up for many of the industry’s top players."

Taylor Swift is a Pioneer of Intellectual Property Rights; American University Intellectual Property Brief, March 13, 2023

 Abigail Smith, American University Intellectual Property Brief; Taylor Swift is a Pioneer of Intellectual Property Rights

"Every time Taylor Swift walks out the door, she facilitates massive changes for the intellectual property rights of artists in the music industry.

Taylor Swift is one of the most popular artists in the world. Even if you don’t like her music, you have to admire her fighting spirit. Lately, she has been in a public battle with Ticketmaster over the availability of tickets for her upcoming tour. Before that, she fought with music streaming services to promote selling albums—thus, profiting off the work put into creating those albums—instead of allowing them to be streamed for free. Before that, she was fighting for her ownership rights over her music. Many of Taylor Swift’s battles have to do with her intellectual property rights, and the outcomes may impact all musicians."

China’s Newest Weapon to Nab Western Technology—Its Courts; The Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2023

Stu Woo  and Daniel Michaels, The Wall Street Journal; China’s Newest Weapon to Nab Western Technology—Its Courts

Rulings nullify patents in industries it deems important, including technology, pharmaceuticals and rare-earth minerals

"The growing conflict between China and the U.S. extends from computer-chip factories to a suspected spy balloon over American skies. Running through it all is a struggle for technological superiority.

China has striven for years to develop cutting-edge technologies, in part through heavy spending on research. Now, according to Western officials and executives, it also has mobilized its legal system to pry technology from other nations.

Officials in the U.S. and European Union accuse China of using its courts and patent panels to undermine foreign intellectual-property rights and help Chinese businesses. They say China is focusing such efforts on industries it deems important, including technology, pharmaceuticals and rare-earth minerals."

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Leader of Illegal Copyright Infringement Scheme Sentenced to 5 ½ Years’ Imprisonment; U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Department of Justice, March 8, 2023

U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Department of JusticeLeader of Illegal Copyright Infringement Scheme Sentenced to 5 ½ Years’ Imprisonment

"United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Bill Omar Carrasquillo, 36 years old, of Swedesboro, NJ, was sentenced to 66 months’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, more than $30 million in forfeiture, and more than $15 million in restitution by United States District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III, for crimes arising from a wide-ranging copyright infringement scheme that involved piracy of cable TV, access device fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of copyright infringement."

Artificial Intelligence Meets Its Worst Enemy: the U.S. Copyright Office; The New Republic, March 3, 2023

,  The New Republic; Artificial Intelligence Meets Its Worst Enemy: the U.S. Copyright Office

"What Silicon Valley calls “artificial intelligence” at the moment is something more like the computer aboard the USS Enterprise, which can respond to voice prompts and answer a wide range of queries instantaneously. Where is the nearest solar system? How many Klingon warships are pursuing us? How many life-forms are on the planet below? These answers can come much more quickly than any human could give, but they also do not reflect creativity or imagination in any meaningful sense...

Randomized and uncontrolled generation renders the result ineligible for copyright, the office said. While it noted that Kashtanova said she went to great lengths to enter prompts specific enough to produce her desired result, that input was not the same as actual creative work. The office compared her to a patron who commissioned a piece of artwork from a client based on specific instructions. If she had given the same instructions to a human artist that she gave to Midjourney, the office noted, Kashtanova herself would not be able to claim the copyright of the piece that the artist ultimately produced.

That explanation is a laudably insightful understanding of labor and creation by the Copyright Office. It may be even more apt than the government realized. A “generative A.I.,” after all, is only as good as the material it is “trained” on—the corpus of raw text or images that the algorithm then uses to produce simulacra of new text and images."

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

ASML chief warns of IP theft risks amid chip sanctions; Financial Times, March 8, 2023

Financial Times ; ASML chief warns of IP theft risks amid chip sanctions

"Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found here

The head of ASML, the chip toolmaker that is Europe’s biggest tech company, said he was guarding against intellectual property theft more fiercely than “ever before”, as a geopolitical tussle forces China to bolster its homegrown semiconductor industry. Peter Wennink said growing restrictions imposed by the US on China’s ability to source cutting-edge chips and semiconductor equipment had raised the stakes for the company’s security efforts. “It’s like 1973, it’s like the oil crisis,” Wennink told the Financial Times, pointing to increasing efforts by the US, Europe and Japan to bolster their domestic chipmaking capabilities. “Oil was always there until it wasn’t, and it was a strategic commodity. Fast forward to 2020 and it’s the same thing with chips.”"

With an unruly China, safeguarding intellectual property is vital to national security; The Globe and Mail, March 6, 2023

 AND , The Globe and Mail; With an unruly China, safeguarding intellectual property is vital to national security

"There is an urgent need for a new Canadian national security policy that considers new and emerging threats.

Such a policy should begin with a strong economic foundation that privileges the domestic development of intangible assets, IP, and the use and commercialization of data, as well as the strategic injection of Canadian technology into international markets. That, in turn, requires a better understanding of the relationship between IP and national security."

The Daring Ruse That Exposed China’s Campaign to Steal American Secrets; The New York Times Magazine, March 7, 2023

, The New York Times Magazine ; The Daring Ruse That Exposed China’s Campaign to Steal American Secrets

"Although China publicly denies engaging in economic espionage, Chinese officials will indirectly acknowledge behind closed doors that the theft of intellectual property from overseas is state policy. James Lewis, a former diplomat now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, recalls participating in a meeting in 2014 or so at which Chinese and American government representatives, including an officer from the People’s Liberation Army, discussed the subject. “An assistant secretary from the U.S. Department of Defense was explaining: Look, spying is OK — we spy, you spy, everybody spies, but it’s for political and military purposes,” Lewis recounted for me. “It’s for national security. What we object to is your economic espionage. And a senior P.L.A. colonel said: Well, wait. We don’t draw the line between national security and economic espionage the way you do. Anything that builds our economy is good for our national security.” The U.S. government’s response increasingly appears to be a mirror image of the Chinese perspective: In the view of U.S. officials, the threat posed to America’s economic interests by Chinese espionage is a threat to American national security.'

Like China’s economy, the spying carried out on its behalf is directed by the Chinese state. The Ministry of State Security, or M.S.S., which is responsible for gathering foreign intelligence, is tasked with collecting information in technologies that the Chinese government wants to build up. The current focus, according to U.S. counterintelligence experts, aligns with the “Made in China 2025” initiative announced in 2015. This industrial plan seeks to make China the world’s top manufacturer in 10 areas, including robotics, artificial intelligence, new synthetic materials and aerospace. In the words of one former U.S. national security official, the plan is a “road map for theft.”"

NFTs are creating trademark problems. For these Minnesota lawyers, expertise is a commodity; Star Tribune, March 8, 2023

 , Star TribuneNFTs are creating trademark problems. For these Minnesota lawyers, expertise is a commodity

"For NFT creators, knowing what they can register for trademark or patent protection is not clear-cut, either. That's a significant piece of the NFT-law equation, considering the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has received more than 10,000 trademark applications for NFT-related goods and services over the last few years, said Kathi Vidal, undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, during a recent online panel.

"And we expect that number to grow," she said.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. Copyright Office are working on a study with input from industry experts to determine how the nation should proceed with NFT laws. The study, a response to a request from the U.S. Senate subcommittee on intellectual property, will help officials determine what policies are to be supported, and what position the U.S. takes on the matter, Vidal said."

From Roald Dahl to Goosebumps, revisions to children’s classics are really about copyright – a legal expert explains; The Conversation, March 7, 2023

Professor of Law, University of Montana; Visiting Research Fellow, University of Oxford, The Conversation ; From Roald Dahl to Goosebumps, revisions to children’s classics are really about copyright – a legal expert explains

"The backlash to Puffin Books’ decision to update Roald Dahl’s children’s books has been swift and largely derisive. The publisher has been accused of “absurd censorship”, “corporate safetyism” and “cultural vandalism.” 

At its core, however, updating Roald Dahl’s children’s books is really about the rights and control copyright grants to authors and copyright holders. Those rights are exercised to update children’s books more frequently than many of these critics may realise."

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Reducing the Choice Between a Textbook and Your Next Meal; UCFToday, March 6, 2023

James Paradiso,  UCFToday; Reducing the Choice Between a Textbook and Your Next Meal

"With textbooks and other required course materials proven to be costly, UCF faculty, staff and students have come up with creative, yet practical, solutions through the creation of Open Educational Resources (OER), a hub for free teaching, learning and research materials.

“There has always been a need for open educational resources in higher education,” says Nicole Lapeyrouse, a UCF chemistry professor and 2023 Affordable Instructional Materials (AIM) High Impact Award winner. “By adopting or creating OER, you are able to further support students by making your courses more affordable and helping reduce the financial burden on students.”

Isabella Griffin, a student in Lapeyrouse’s Chemistry Fundamentals I course, confirms those benefits.

“The free textbook has helped ease the financial burden associated with being a college student.,” she says. “Sometimes, high prices prevent students from having textbook access — to the detriment of student learning. I greatly appreciate the free and open access to [the Chemistry Fundamentals eBook]. It has increased my ability to access relevant and useful resources related to class.”

“From my own personal experience with not always having access to affordable resources,” says Lapeyrouse, “I wanted to prevent students from having to make a tough call on [whether to] buy the required resources or pay a bill.”

According to the 2022 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey conducted by Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), 53% of students from Florida’s public higher education institutions indicated they did not purchase a required textbook for financial reasons. Forty-four percent took fewer courses. Thirty-eight percent did not register for a specific course. And 24% dropped a course due to the high cost of textbooks."