Lawsuits concerning the copyright of AI technology have the potential to lead to the extinction of the entire industry

One of the most notable developments in the field of generative AI is the increase in copyright cases filed against AI companies like OpenAI and Stability AI. We’ve invited Sarah Jeong, features editor at Verge, a former lawyer, to join us in this episode to discuss these cases in more detail and to examine the main defense tactic used by AI businesses, known as fair use.
Large datasets that are taken from the internet are used to train generative AI models at many large corporations. Prominent media outlets including The New York Times and Getty Images have filed lawsuits, claiming that AI businesses are effectively stealing their work and making money off of it. These assertions are essentially simple charges of copyright violation.

Copyright law is still primarily based on the idea of controlling copies and identifying those that are acceptable and those that are not. Since using a computer involves copying things by nature, copyright law has always been important to the development of the internet since it allows for the quick creation and distribution of perfect copies. Fair use, on the other hand, provides a check on the authority granted by copyright law. Fair use, which is a provision of the Copyright Act, allows for specific kinds of copies. Because people’s tastes and actions are unpredictable, the law includes a four-factor test that judges might apply to determine whether a copy is acceptable for fair use.

However, the judicial system is by its very nature unpredictable and non-deterministic. Every court is free to apply the fair use test however it sees fit, and a decision made by one does not set a precedent that must be followed by all other courts. Because of this, determining fair use becomes very subjective, adding an element of uncertainty to many copyright cases. A lot of these scenarios seem like a coin flip, especially in light of the significant hype, unpredictability, and financial ramifications surrounding AI. These copyright cases have extraordinarily high risks. This poses an existential threat to the modern AI sector, as the episode emphasizes, similar to the difficulties Napster and other file-sharing platforms encountered in the early 2000s. History demonstrates that throughout the file-sharing era, copyright verdicts caused the demise of entire companies and resulted in long-lasting modifications to copyright laws.d using AI.

 

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