Getty and Its Licensed Smart Software Art

September 26, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid. (Yep, the dinobaby is back from France. Thanks to those who made the trip professionally and personally enjoyable.)

The illustration shows a very, very happy image rights troll. The cloud of uncertainty from AI generated images has passed. Now the rights software bots, controlled by cheerful copyright trolls, can scour the Web for unauthorized image use. Forget the humanoids. The action will be from tireless AI generators and equally robust bots designed to charge a fee for the image created by zeros and ones. Yes!

9 25 troll dancing

A quite joyful copyright troll displays his killer moves. Thanks, MidJourney. The gradient descent continues, right into the legal eagles’ nests.

Getty Made an AI Generator That Only Trained on Its Licensed Images” reports:

Generative AI by Getty Images (yes, it’s an unwieldy name) is trained only on the vast Getty Images library, including premium content, giving users full copyright indemnification. This means anyone using the tool and publishing the image it created commercially will be legally protected, promises Getty. Getty worked with Nvidia to use its Edify model, available on Nvidia’s generative AI model library Picasso.

This is exciting. Will the images include a tough-to-discern watermark? Will the images include a license plate, a social security number, or a just a nifty sting of harmless digits?

The article does reveal the money angle:

The company said any photos created with the tool will not be included in the Getty Images and iStock content libraries. Getty will pay creators if it uses their AI-generated image to train the current and future versions of the model. It will share revenues generated from the tool, “allocating both a pro rata share in respect of every file and a share based on traditional licensing revenue.”

Who will be happy? Getty, the trolls, or the designers who have a way to be more productive with a helping hand from the Getty robot? I think the world will be happier because monetization, smart software, and lawyers are a business model with legs… or claws.

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2023

Can Smart Software Get Copyright? Wrong?

September 15, 2023

It is official: copyrights are for humans, not machines. JD Supra brings us up to date on AI and official copyright guidelines in, “Using AI to Create a Work – Copyright Protection and Infringement.” The basic principle goes both ways. Creators cannot copyright AI-generated material unless they have manipulated it enough to render it a creative work. On the other hand, it is a violation to publish AI-generated content that resembles a copyright-protected work. As for feeding algorithms a diet of human-made media, that is not officially against the rules. Yet. We learn:

“To obtain copyright protection for a work containing AI-generated material, the work must have sufficient human input, such as sufficient modification of the AI output or the human selection or arrangement of the AI content. However, copyright protection would be limited to those ‘human-made’ elements. Past, pending, and future copyright applications need to identify explicitly the human element and disclaim the AI-created content if it is more than minor. For existing registrations, a supplementary registration may be necessary. Works created using AI are subject to the same copyright infringement analysis applicable to any work. The issue with using AI to create works is that the sources of the original works may not be identified, so an infringement analysis cannot be conducted until the cease-and-desist letter is received. No court has yet adopted the theory that merely using an AI database means the resulting work is automatically an infringing derivative work if it is not substantially similar to the protectable elements in the copyrighted work.”

The article cites the Copyright Registration Guidance: Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence, 88 Fed. Reg. 16,190 (March 16, 2023). It notes those guidelines were informed by a decision handed down in February, Zarya v Dawn, which involved a comic book with AI-generated content. the Copyright Office sliced and diced elements, specifying:

“… The selection and arrangement of the images and the text were the result of human authorship and thus copyrightable, but the AI-generated images resulting from human prompts were not. The prompts ‘influenced,’ but did not ‘dictate,’ the resulting image, so the applicant was not the ‘mastermind’ and therefore not the author of the images. Further, the applicant’s edits to the images were too minor to be deemed copyrightable.”

Ah, the fine art of splitting hairs. As for training databases packed with protected content, the article points to pending lawsuits by artists against Stability AI, MidJourney, and Deviant Art. We are told those cases may be dismissed on technical grounds, but are advised to watch for similar cases in the future. Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, September 15, 2023

Rights Issues: How Can Money Be Extracted from Content?

March 20, 2023

I don’t have a dog in this fight. I gave up on “real” publishers when the outfits with which I was working in Sweden and the UK went to the big printing press in the multiverse. Yep, failure. I am mindful about image rights too, but that doesn’t mean my images or the clip art I have in my files from the years of CD-ROMs with illustrations that were “free to use.” Ho ho ho on that marketing blather.

I want to call attention to two news items and then offer a comment or two not presented by other dinobabies watching the wide, wild, wonderful world of digital information.

The first item is the Italian government’s conclusion that the illustration by Leonardo d Vinci is not in the public domain. I used to have a T shirt I bought in Florence with the image on the overpriced, made-in-China garment. I wonder if that shop on the bridge near the secret passage some big wheel used in the 16th century? I would assume that the Italian government has hoovered these and converted them to recycling fodder. You can read about this in the article “Italy Decides That Leonardo da Vinci’s 500 Year Old Works Are Not In The Public Domain.” The subtitle of the write up is “from the locking-up-in-the-public-domain department.” The story reports:

According to the Italian Cultural Heritage Code and relevant case law, faithful digital reproductions of works of cultural heritage — including works in the Public Domain — can only be used for commercial purposes against authorization and payment of a fee. Importantly though, the decision to require authorization and claim payment is left to the discretion of each cultural institution (see articles 107 and 108). In practice, this means that cultural institutions have the option to allow users to reproduce and reuse faithful digital reproductions of Public Domain works for free, including for commercial uses. This flexibility is fundamental for institutions to support open access to cultural heritage.

The operative word is “fee.”

The second item is about Internet Archive, a controversial outfit from the point of view of some publishers. The idea is that Internet Archive offers electronic books for free. Free, not fee, is an important concept. Publishers, writers, agents, book cover artists, and probably a French bulldog or two want to get a piece of the money generated by charging for electronic books. Look Amazon does it, and publishers are not thrilled. But there is some money paid out which is going the right direction.

The report I read is “The Internet Archive Is a Library.” Libraries and publishers have a long history. On one hand, publishers love to sell books to libraries. On the other hand, libraries are not turning cartwheels because libraries loan eBooks and other digital artifacts to patrons. As long as the money streams flow, publishers and rights holders are semi-happy, a bit like a black sheep of the family getting a few bucks when Uncle Tom goes to the big printing shop in the sky where my defunct publishers hopefully work setting type by hand.

The article says:

Despite its incredible library collections, which serve the needs of millions of people, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons Inc., and Penguin Random House assert that the Internet Archive is not a real library.

If one is not a real library, that institution must pay for books. That seems clear to the publishers. I have wondered why the US Library of Congress was not moving in the same direction as the Internet Archive. Oh, well. What about the Special Library Association? Yeah, oh, well. And the American Library Association in concert with Harvard or Stanford? Oh, well.

So the Internet Archive is in jeopardy.

Several observations:

  1. Entities which could have assumed this job in concern with Internet Archive could have been more proactive. They weren’t, so here we are.
  2. Publishers are hungry for revenue, almost any type of revenue stream will do. Why not extract money from an outfit trying to perform a useful library-type function? Sorry, we want money and people can buy information from us summarizes the position of some publishers on earth and possibly in the big printing facility amidst the stars.
  3. Legal eagles love books. Plus those folks sometimes buy books to decorate their offices in the event a meeting is required in a suitably classy environment. Do lawyers read these books? Maybe, but I think professional publishers sell online content to them. Thus, in today’s world it makes sense for lawyers to determine what is a library and what is not, what content is free and which is not. I think I understand, but I am not going to call my attorney because I have to pay in 15 minute increments.

Net net: Libraries are for many negative spaces. Some books present information which is bad; therefore, ban or burn the books. Now we can defund regular libraries and shut down the online outfits. Publishers may be thrilled. Others may not care. I like libraries, but dinobabies don’t have influence. I am glad I am old.

Stephen E Arnold, March 20, 2023

RightHub: Will It Supercharge IP Protection and Violation Trolls?

March 16, 2023

Yahoo believe it or not displayed an article I found interesting. The title was “Copy That: RightHub Wants To Be the Command Center for Intellectual Property Management.” The story originated on a Silicon Valley “real news” site called TechCrunch.

The write up explains that managing patent, trademark, and copyright information is a hassle. RightHub is, according to the story:

…something akin to what GoDaddy promises in the world of website creation, insofar as GoDaddy allows anyone to search, register, and renew domain names, with additional tools for building and hosting websites.

I am not sure that a domain-name type of model is going to have the professional, high-brow machinery that rights-sensitive outfits expect. I am not sure that many people understand that the domain-name model is fraught with manipulated expiry dates, wheeling and dealing, and possibly good old-fashioned fraud.

The idea of using a database and scripts to keep track of intellectual property is interesting. Tools are available to automate many of the discrete steps required to file, follow up, renew, and remember who did what and when.

But domain name processes as a touchstone.

Sorry. I think that the service will embrace a number of sub functions which may be of interest to some people; for example, enforcement trolls. Many are using manual or outmoded tools like decades old image recognition technology and partial Web content scanning methods. If RightHub offers a robust system, IP protection may become easier. Some trolls will be among the first to seek inspiration and possibly opportunities to be more troll-like.

Stephen E Arnold, March 16, 2023

How to Make Chinese Artificial Intelligence Professionals Hope Like Happy Bunnies

January 23, 2023

Happy New Year! It is the Year of the Rabbit, and the write up “Is Copyright Easting AI?” may make some celebrants happier than the contents of a red envelop. The article explains that the US legal system may derail some of the more interesting, publicly accessible applications of smart software. Why? US legal eagles and the thicket of guard rails which comprise copyright.

The article states:

… neural network developers, get ready for the lawyers, because they are coming to get you.

That means the the interesting applications on the “look what’s new on the Internet” news service Product Hunt will disappear. Only big outfits can afford to bring and fight some litigation. When I worked as an expert witness, I learned that money is not an issue of concern for some of the parties to a lawsuit. Those working as a robot repair technician for a fast food chain will want to avoid engaging in a legal dispute.

The write up also says:

If the AI industry is to survive, we need a clear legal rule that neural networks, and the outputs they produce, are not presumed to be copies of the data used to train them. Otherwise, the entire industry will be plagued with lawsuits that will stifle innovation and only enrich plaintiff’s lawyers.

I liked the word “survive.” Yep, continue to exist. That’s an interesting idea. Let’s assume that the US legal process brings AI develop to a halt. Who benefits? I am a dinobaby living in rural Kentucky. Nevertheless, it seems to me that a country will just keep on working with smart software informed by content. Some of the content may be a US citizen’s intellectual property, possibly a hard drive with data from Los Alamos National Laboratory, or a document produced by a scientific and technical publisher.

It seems to me that smart software companies and research groups in a country with zero interest in US laws can:

  1. Continue to acquire content by purchase, crawling, or enlisting the assistance of third parties
  2. Use these data to update and refine their models
  3. Develop innovations not available to smart software developers in the US.

Interesting, and with the present efficiency of some legal and regulatory system, my hunch is that bunnies in China are looking forward to 2023. Will an innovator use enhanced AI for information warfare or other weapons? Sure.

Stephen E Arnold, January 23, 2023

Ah, Lawyers: What One Does Not See Others Will

December 27, 2022

I read “The Copyright Industry Is about to Discover That There Are Hundreds of Thousands of Songs Generated by AI Already Available, Already Popular.” The write does a typical lawyer thing: Presenting in cool tones a logical argument. Is there a problem with this? Nope; however, what one lawyer presents as a logical argument, there will be other legal eagles preparing more logical arguments backed by a business model, knowledge of litigation processes, and the money or clout to push a matter forward.

After you read the cited article, navigate to PicRights. Read the verbiage. Then run a query on Reddit for the business entity PicRights. Now form a mental picture of this type of firm equipped with a signed letter which says, “Protect my rights against IP thieves. We agree to split the money extracted from these scofflaws, thieves, cut-purses, and content recycles.”

Got the picture.

The wide diffusion of smart software which does human like things open the door to a major business opportunity for PicRights type companies. Plus, if you need a lawyer, I have heard that a Higbee & Associates-type of law firm is skilled in this facet of assorted laws, conventions, and regulations.

The opportunity to extract money from machine generated images, music, and other content is unlimited.

Stephen E Arnold, December 27, 2022

Does Medium Promote Stolen Software?

November 21, 2022

I read “Bigasoft Total Video Converter Crack with Serial Key 2023.” The main idea of the write up is that a reader of this Medium article can steal intellectual property. The tip off for a human subject matter expert reviewing content for appropriateness or smart software jazzed on Snorkelesque magic would probably note the word “crack” and the phrase “with Serial Key 2023.” The fact that this article appears on Medium is probably something will annoy the developers of Bigasoft’s video converter. My hunch is that a legal eagle may want to call this Medium oversight to the attention of a responsible adult at the zippy alternative to an old school magazine. What does this somewhat obvious invitation to steal software say? I quote:

Bigasoft Total Video Converter Keygen is compatible with all versions of Windows and runs smoothly on Mac….After reading the installation instructions below, you may install this application since it is effortless. You get TipuCrack from it….

Yeah, this seems clear. Am I missing something that makes this type of theft advocacy okay? I hope my link goes dead because that shows a modicum of ethical behavior.

Stephen E Arnold, November 21, 2022

Photo Rights and the Next Flight of Legal Eagles

November 15, 2022

I spotted a write up called “Copyright Trolls: The Unseen Tactics Lurking In The Backdrops Of Online Photos.” I was surprised to learn that this is a “real” business, not a criminal activity. The write up defines how individuals using a copyright protected image put themselves at risk. The article identifies companies in this business and highlights one law firm which deals with the alleged law breakers. Please, read the article.

However, the write up omits what I think will be an even larger business: Threatening legal action for an individual who uses a machine generated image without permission. In fact, a machine generated image may be okay for a person to create with a service like Craiyon or DALL-E today. But tomorrow some fine outfit like Getty Images or Agence France Presse may pull these images into their organizations. Then a copyright enforcement outfit uses smart software to find an unauthorized use of the image. The alleged infringer is at the wrong end of a legal eagle’s output system.

Check out the write up. Note the firms playing this game. Think about those machine generated images and future risk.

Stephen E Arnold, November 15, 2022

Medium and Software Fancy Dancing

October 19, 2022

I noted this link in my Medium email to this Medium published story: “CCleaner Pro 6.03.10002 Crack Plus Serial Key Latest Version.” The write up is allegedly by an entity with the handle Mubashirrana. What’s seems to be troubling is that the information in the write up provides a link to what appears to be a dicey Web site called Get Crack PC’s . No, I will not provide the link. You can get this information from the Medium story if the company has not taken it down. If you do visit the Get Crack PC Web site keep in mind that there may be a risk of risk malware or just breaking a law related to software theft. The write up says:

CCleaner Pro Key 6.03.10002 With Crack [All Editions Keys]

CCleaner Pro 6.03.10002 Crack For Windows computers is helpful software. That eliminates all the clutter over time, including broken shortcuts, temporary files, and other issues. It is the ideal cleaning pro crack for your PC, making your system operate quickly and smoothly. Additionally, it safeguards your privacy and secures your system. Your surfing history and temporary internet files are both cleaned. This program may boost your Internet security and make you less vulnerable to identity theft.

Several observations:

  1. Medium is outputting lists of suggested stories to people like me and you. One would assume that those suggested links would not publicize a Web site which appears to facilitate software theft
  2. Medium pesters me with requests to pay them money. Why would I want to pay money to read stories about software theft? Is Medium aware of my lectures to law enforcement and intelligence professionals and trying to help me out with case examples?
  3. The idea of allowing anyone to create content with the hope of making money is one thing. A failure to use common sense about what to publish is, in my book, another.

Net net: Silicon Valley think demonstrates what I would call a common-sense gap. Will anyone at Medium “care”? Maybe not. Will a Medium professional speak with Mubashirrana about acceptable content? I don’t know. The new digital publisher whiz kids may want to study how the dinobabies handled content selection. Just a thought.

Stephen E Arnold, October 19, 2022

Copyright Trolls Await a Claim Paradise

August 29, 2022

Smart software can create content. In fact, the process can be automated, allow a semi-useless humanoid to provide a few inputs, and release a stream of synthetic content. (Remember, please, that these content outputs are weaponized to promote a specific idea, product, or belief.) Smart video tools will allow machines to create a video from a single image. If you are not familiar with this remarkable innovation in weaponized information, consider the import of Googley “transframing.” You can read about this contribution to society at this link.

I am not interested in exploring the technology of these systems. AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning) stress my mental jargon filter. I want to focus on those unappreciated guardians of intellectual property: The entities and law firms enforcing assorted claims regarding images, text, and videos used without paying a royalty or getting legal permission to reuse an original creation.

The idea is simple: Smart software outputs a content object. The object is claimed by an organization eager to protect applicable copyright rules and regulations. The content object is marked with a © and maybe some paperwork will be filed. But why bother?

Now use some old fashioned hashing method to identify use of the content object, send a notice of © violation, demand payment, threaten legal action, and sit quietly like a “pigeon” in London for the cash to roll in.

A few people have a partial understanding of what the AI/ML generated content objects will create. For a glimpse of these insights, navigate to HackerNews and this threat; for example:

The future will include humans claiming AI art as their own, possibly touched up a bit, and AIs claiming human art as their own.

The legal eagles are drooling. And the trolls? Quivering with excitement. Paradise ahead!

Stephen E Arnold, August 29, 2022

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