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 6.4.2.8118 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

Cheerleading: The PicRights’ Method

May 30, 2022

I read what appears to be a news release designed to promote an outfit with an interesting business model. Navigate to “PicRights Sponsors Upcoming CEPIC Congress in Spain.” the write up explains:

For the fifth consecutive year, PicRights will also sponsor the annual Digital Media Licensing Organization (DMLA) Conference, to be held later this year. Last year’s conference offered sessions with Adobe, Google, Microsoft and Getty, and discussed NFTs, AI, synthetic content, remote production, and other issues shaping today’s creator economy. PicRights was a sponsor of the conference from 2018 through 2021, and was previously a speaker at the 2020 conference.

The news release points out:

Last month, PicRights was a supporter of the 32nd annual MINDS Conference held in Helsinki. The theme of the conference was “Stronger Together – Collaboration and Sharing for Success” and discussed successful partnerships within MINDS and beyond, collaboration with major platforms, newsroom evolution, and the power of diversity and inclusion.

Several questions arose as I thought about this somewhat rah rah-type news story:

  1. What is the false positive rate for the software used by this organization to identify copyright missteps? When was it developed? By whom?
  2. What financial deals are in place for largely reactive and technologically sluggish publishing companies’ whose intellectual property is the subject of legal interactions?
  3. Why are image protected by assorted copyright regulations appearing in a free Web search system like Google-type image search?

I don’t have answers to these questions. It seems to me that some odd synchronized vibration is buzzing among the image indexing outfits, the PicRights-type operations, and the copyright holders.

Is the solution to use “smart software” to delete inclusion of any image which requires a fee for use or the insertion of a message that clearly identifies an image as one which requires a fee to be paid should someone like a veteran’s group, a college newspaper, or a one-person Medium blogger?

I find this harmonic vibration among the rights enforcement folks, the Google-type search systems, and the entity “owning” the rights to a particular image fascinating.

The business model is clever but it appears that additional publicity is needed to make the excellence of the approach more visible.  Rah rah rah.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2022

A Gentle Ripple in the Datasphere: Soft Fraud

May 18, 2022

Compared with some of the cyber behavior, soft fraud is a small fish, possibly a candiru. My definition of “soft fraud” is a behavior which does not violate the letter of the law. The spirit of the law? That’s a matter for discussion.

Soft fraud sits squarely between the Bernie Madoff-type play and a clueless Web designed happily leading a user into a rat’s nest of captchas.

I have been nagging my research team to look for examples of behavior which though technically legal in the country from which the actor operates, trigger a visceral reaction in some people.

What’s an example of soft fraud?

Apple and the Subscription Trick

Recently Apple announced that an authorized vendor with the Johnny Appleseed seal of approval can sell an Apple customer a subscription at a cut rate price. When the trial or initial order expires, the vendor can just raise the price. The customer does not have to be reminded that billing excitement ensues. What’s a customer to do? Call Apple customer support? Ho ho ho. That works like the feedback forms for podcasts. Perhaps call the outfit selling the subscription? Ha ha ha. No one works, and if they do, these valiant souls operate from office space in a beautiful suburb of Mumbai.  That’s an example of what I call soft fraud. Apple may disagree, but that — so far — is my personal opinion. See “Apple will allow some apps to Automatically Charge You Higher Subscription Prices.”

Say One Thing, Do Whatever One Wants

Examples of this abound. I recall executives from Amazon, Facebook, and Google explaining how their businesses operate. In addition to the popular, “senator, thank you for the question,” the core response was “I will check and send you the information.” In the meantime what happens, absolutely no substantive change in the business processes under discussion. Hiring and firing issues. I will check and send you the information. Monopolistic and predatory behaviors. I will check and send you the information. Content manipulation via oh, so opaque smart software. I will check and send you the information. Yep, I nudge these methods into the soft fraud category. See “Facebook, Twitter and Google CEOs Grilled by Congress on Misinformation.”

The Copyright Violation Play

This is a cute money making maneuver involving some big names. The idea is that an agent representing some “big names” uses ageing image recognition software. The software bot prowls the Web looking for images whose hash code matches that of the rights holder. When a match is identified, an outfit with permission to move forward with legal action against the copyright violators springs into action. You can get a sense of what’s happening in this sector by check out some of these online articles and comments. Note: These may be distorted, crazy, or dead center. I leave it to you:

https://superezsystems.com/2020/01/10/why-are-cartoon-characters-scamming-for-copyright-violations/

https://www.torontomike.com/2020/10/the-picrights-international-inc-shakedown/

https://shannonrawlins2000.medium.com/picrights-ltd-the-shady-company-hounding-journalists-over-historic-cases-of-copyright-infringement-a169685eede6

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/picrights.com

https://www.moreaboutadvertising.com/2020/11/picrights-is-persecuting-websites-and-bloggers-over-alleged-rights-issues-who-are-they-and-their-agents-acting-for/

https://extortionletterinfo.com/forum/getty-images-letter-forum/picrights-com/15/

https://www.quora.com/I-reposted-a-news-photo-on-my-website’s-blog-A-company-picrights-com-is-demanding-money-instead-of-simply-issuing-a-cease-and-desist-order-is-this-extortion-and-or-even-legal

https://randeedawn.com/10-12-20-how-two-spam-emails-cost-me-650-or-when-picrights-enters-your-life/

https://culture-fx.com/picrights-higbee-and-associates-extortion-scam-reviews/

https://sportsweek.org/en/ice-hockey/news/262837698/

https://ziad.ezzat.com/fuckpicrights/

https://site-stats.org/details/picrights-international-inc/

https://www.canadacorporation.info/companies/10058661/

https://opencorporates.com/companies/ca/9682155

https://www.companiesofcanada.com/person/1244351/syed-ahmer-hussain

https://opengovca.com/corporation?director=Syed+Hussain

https://www.redfin.ca/on/aurora/237-Borealis-Ave-L4G-7T6/home/152256940

https://opengovca.com/corporation/12183536

New Opportunity?

My hunch is that soft fraud is likely to get a boost. I noted “DeviantArt Can Now Notify Anyone Whose Art’s Been Used in NFTs without Permission.” The write up explains:

DeviantArt, an online art and design community founded in 2000, is now opening up its NFT protection tool to everyone… You can pay $9.95 per month to get protection for 1,000 pieces of art with a size limit of 50GB.

Is this an opportunity for an individual or entity to use the service to request payment for the NFT. The NFT holder might be grateful for getting control of the bitmap or other digital object. Would the helpful intermediary charge whatever the market will bear and then take a professional services fee?

This strikes me as perfectly legal. The existing copyright laws have a Disneyland feel about them from my perspective.

Net net: Soft fraud may benefit from the advent of NFT and services like that offered by DeviantArt, which is an interesting name in my opinion. Will regulators seize the day and create a category to handle soft fraud, mishandling of NFTs, and other innovations? Sure. Job One after re-election, fund raising, and getting media attention.

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2022

MINDS Conference: Truly Baffling

May 6, 2022

I received a link to a conference in Finland, which is just around the corner from Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky. The outfit’s flier perched on a Google Drive, and I learned that the MINDS program is into talking about news, collaboration, and diversity. The sponsors of the conference in Helsinki are

  1. Ifragasätt, another consulting firm “supplies its customers with solutions for live-blogging/reporting and readers comments.
  2. Namia, apparently a consulting firm responsible for STT Spy Tool, STT Little Bird, STT Vault News Robotics and Data Platform and STT’s Crime Database, among others. (Although my research team follows intelware, the STT Crime Database was interesting because it seems to be a resource owned by the Finnish New Agency or “STT.”
  3. PicRights, a copyright enforcement entity which “Using state-of-the-art technology to identify infringements and a team of experienced staff to qualify them as enforceable, PicRights delivers actionable cases to the appropriate regional enforcement unit for settlement and collection of fees for the unlicensed uses.” (There are offices in many countries, just not in the US. What does that suggest, Mr. Higbee?)

If there are other sponsors, I did not spot them in the program.

My reaction to the line up of speakers is that considerable attention will be directed to the news opportunities created by the actions a certain nation state.

What’s interesting is that outputs about the dust up East of Helsinki does not talk about improper reuse of TikTok videos, tweets, and YouTube posts. In my lecture at the 2022 National Cyber Crime Conference, I commented about how a former CIA operator surfed open source information. The former CIA professional writes novels but discovered information about the yachts allegedly owned by Russians who have been sanctioned. The information comes in part from the YouTube videos of eSysman and other open sources. But the former CIA professional did not identify these sources in a Lawfare podcast featuring the information.

My thought is that the MINDS Conference agenda has hip-hopped over the recycling of information related to the misunderstanding roiling Europe and allowing real news organizations to reuse content.

I will never know. The flier which I referenced includes this statement:

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL INFORMATION GIVEN DURING THE CONFERENCE IS CONFIDENTIAL AND MUST NOT LEAVE THE MINDS NETWORK

The shouting caps appear in the original flier. What’s the penalty if the graduate student speaking at the conference puts her / them ideas in a journal article.

My hunch is that with a crime database and a legal network among the sponsors, something really bad will happen.

Will that punishment be worse than ignoring improper use of individuals posting information as OSINT and hearing crickets from “real news” outfits about fair use?

Of course not. Leveraging OSINT for commercial gain is part of the “real news” game for some publishers. Secrecy is good for some geese. Let’s hope the graduate student does not miss the ALL CAPS message.

Stephen E Arnold, May 6, 2022

Artificial Intelligence Generates Interesting Clowns Perfect for Kiddies

March 18, 2022

Like the Boston Dynamics’ robot reindeer, these constructs delight the eye. I wondered how many pre school and kindergarten classes would use the robot reindeer how technology improves a holiday experience.

See the Terrifying Video of Artificial Intelligence Generating Infinite Killer Clowns” sparked a new idea in my 77 year old mine. Why not use these videos at children’s parties. My hunch is that some would find these clowns a hoot.

The write up states:

… it probably never would have occurred to the futurists of the 20th century, not even in their wildest dream, that once artificial intelligence was developed, it would almost immediately be put to use to create nightmare landscapes of killer clowns.

I would love to illustrate this blog post with an image from the YouTube video cited in the write up. There are, however, the ever present defender of truth, justice, and revenue generation watching to make sure that no image is used without paying. Hats off to Getty, YouTube, Steve Pigeon, and others for making writing fun again.

Navigate to the article. Click the link. View the child centric clowns. Do some of these constructs resemble those who work tirelessly to enforce their view of rules and make money? Sure.

I watched the video and noted a possible resemblance between the terror inducing images and some interesting people I have encountered.

Stephen E Arnold, March 18, 2022

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