Monday, 29 April 2019


The Verge have published a new article on the role and implications of AI - artificial intelligence - in the 'authorship' of musical works - although the same thoughts must surely apply to artistic, literary and dramatic works . In 'WE’VE BEEN WARNED ABOUT AI AND MUSIC FOR OVER 50 YEARS, BUT NO ONE’S PREPARED' Dani Deahl asks some interesting questions - and find very few answers! As AI begins to reshape how music is made, how are our legal systems going to answer some messy questions regarding authorship. Do AI algorithms create their own work, or is it the humans behind them? What happens if AI software trained solely on Beyoncé creates a track that sounds just like her? Just a few of the thoughts in there!  Jonathan Bailey, CTO of audio tech company iZotope, seemed to most concisely sum up the issue “I won’t mince words,” he told The Verge. “This is a total legal clusterfuck.”

Bloomberg reports that a US photographer could lose some or all of a $450,000 jury award because he didn’t establish that the allegedly infringing business owner willfully infringed his copyrights by hiring a web developer who used unlicensed images. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit April 16 reversed part of a jury verdict in favor of photographer Jim Erickson in his 2013 lawsuit against Kraig Rudinger Kast holding that Erickson failed to show Kast financially benefited from the infringement or went beyond negligence into willfulness, remanding those issues back to the lower court: “Negligence is a less culpable mental state than actual knowledge, willful blindness, or recklessness, the three mental states that properly support a finding of willfulness”. And more on in a similar vein from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the case between BWP Media and e-commerce website Polyvore - digested by the New York Law Journal here

The US government has published its annual piracy report from the US Trade Representative which highlights where the US feels IP rights are most at risk. Both of America's closest neighbours, Canada and Mexico, appear on the list of countries that should be doing more to protect IP rights but special mention goes to Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela. In a statement the UTSR said  "These trading partners will be the subject of increased bilateral engagement with USTR to address IP concerns. For such countries that fail to address US concerns, USTR will take appropriate actions". Drilling down into where the problems lie,The Pirate Bay gets a mention but the report acknowledges that other forms of piracy are now out-performing file-sharing. The report notes that "pirate streaming sites continue to gain popularity, overtaking pirate torrent and direct download sites for distribution of pirated content". The USTR says that the aim of its annual piracy bad boys list is "to motivate appropriate action by the private sector and governments to reduce piracy and counterfeiting".

A US federal appeals court has rejected a fair use ruling by a lower court in a case that focuses on what can and cannot be considered when applying the doctrine. The District Court in Brammer v. Violent Hues had found that the unauthorised use of a photograph qualified as fair use, even though it was a commercial use that did little to give any new meaning to the original photograph. At the time of the ruling US District Judge Claude M Hilton was widely criticised by legal observers and photographers’ trade groups who disagreed with his ruling that Violent Hues’s use of Brammer’s photo was “transformative” because Brammer had created the image for “promotional” purposes, while Violent Hues used it for “informational” purposes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has emphatically reversed the lower court’s ruling saying “What Violent Hues did was publish a tourism guide for a commercial event and include [Brammer’s] Photo to make the end product more visually interesting. Such a use would not constitute fair use when done in print, and it does not constitute fair use on the Internet” adding “If the ordinary commercial use of stock photography constituted fair use, professional photographers would have little financial incentive to produce their work” and that " “fair us is not designed to protect lazy appropriators". 

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