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Self-Publishing News: The Latest Legal Developments In Artists Vs. AI Feels Like The Face Off Before A Boxing Match…

Self-Publishing News: The Latest Legal Developments in Artists vs. AI Feels Like the Face Off Before a Boxing Match…

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

Saturday seems to be becoming our AI news day, and this week in the ALLi News column there are some really interesting stories. This week, the news has centred on lawsuits. Specifically it has centred on the lawsuits brought by creators in respect of copyright: Artists vs. AI.

The highest profile story of the week, which several people have sent to me, comes from Ars Technica. Its headline is fairly unequivocal: “Judge rejects most ChatGPT copyright claims from book authors.” And the sub head makes clear that OpenAI intends to squash any claims that made it through the net. These dismissed cases include the high profile lawsuits from Sarah Silberman and Michael Chabon.

What is really interesting is that, as we have seen so often, the rejection rests on the wording of current law. In particular it is noted that the lawsuits don’t claim direct (that is, word for word) copying of material. What they claim, rather, is slightly more fuzzy breach of copyright, which judges held to be an issue for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And what the plaintiffs hadn’t shown, as we have seen before, is the causal link between input and output. Nor had they shown that OpenAI had deliberately manipulated its platform to provide what might be termed get-arounds.

The one part of the lawsuits that has been allowed to proceed is the claim that copyright material might have been used to train a platform without authors’ permission. The judge considered that there may be a case to answer around unfair practice. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

On the other side, another judgement points in the other direction. StabilityAI and Midjourney have had their claim that lawsuits would breach their First Amendment right to free speech rebuffed. The judge decided that there was a genuine public interest in artists being able to pursue claims against generative AI platforms.

Both these stories show that these are still early days for the legal position of copyright cases. In the latter case, what we have is simply permission to proceed. In the first case, the issue is yet again the way a lawsuit has been put together rather than the underlying legal position. There are clearly going to be many more developments as things crystallise.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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