Thursday, August 24, 2023

Frank ...

Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

Back in 2010, yours truly wrote a blurb titled The Future of the Internet, a commentary about the pernicious abuse of copyright vis a vis the net, something brought to fruition thanks to a mediocrity named Sonny Bono whereby copyright was extended from the reasonable 14 year limit with one extension as voiced by the Founders to, and I quote  ...

BRT has talked often about the TPP with emphasis on intellectual property rights vis a vis copyright, the disaster first perpetrated on the US thanks to the late Sonny Bono (The Mickey Mouse Act) who extended the length of copyright from the Founders 14 years plus one allowed extension of 14 years (if the cr holder was still alive) to life plus 70, which means Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, written in 1905, could theoretically remain outside of public domain until 2025 as Einstein died in 1955. Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, debuted in 1928. Disney died in 1966, ergo, Steamboat would not enter the PD until 2036. Now, with the TPP, this intellectual rights nonsense goes worldwide, along with extensive expanded CR rights to hollywood and big pharma with us paroles and political representatives not having any say as to why the TPP is a fubar of the most onerous kind.

Seque to 2023: AI, copyright as to how it applies to music and our data ...

As per BRT, The Idea Dynamo ...

There’s only one name that springs to mind when you think of the cutting edge in copyright law online: Frank Sinatra. 

There’s nothing more important than making sure his estate — and his label, Universal Music Group — gets paid when people do AI versions of Ol’ Blue Eyes singing “Get Low” on YouTube, right? Even if that means creating an entirely new class of extralegal contractual royalties for big music labels just to protect the online dominance of your video platform while simultaneously insisting that training AI search results on books and news websites without paying anyone is permissible fair use? Right? Right?

This, broadly, is the position that Google is taking after announcing a deal with Universal Music Group yesterday “to develop an AI framework to help us work toward our common goals.” Google is signaling that it will pay off the music industry with special deals that create brand-new — and potentially devastating! — private intellectual property rights, while basically telling the rest of the web that the price of being indexed in Search is complete capitulation to allowing Google to scrape data for AI training.

A Faustian Bargain yet again or ... your content is no longer yours ...

At this moment in web history, Google is the last remaining source of traffic at scale on the web, which is why so many websites are turning into AI-written SEO honeypots. The situation is bad and getting worse.

This means Google has absolutely tremendous leverage over publishers of websites, who are still mostly paying human beings to make content in the hopes that Google ranks their pages highly and sends them traffic, all while Google itself is training its AI models on that expensive content.

In the meantime, Google is also rolling out the Search Generative Experience (SGE) so that it might answer search queries directly using AI — particularly, lucrative queries about buying things. In fact, almost every SGE demo Google has ever given has ended in a transaction of some kind.

“Over time, this will just be how search works.”

This is a great deal for Google but a horrible deal for publishers, who are staring down the barrel of ever-diminishing Google referrals and decreasing affiliate revenue but lack any ability to say no to search traffic. I like to call the end of Google traffic “Google Zero,” and Google Zero is on its way: on Google’s last earnings call, Sundar Pichai bluntly said of SGE, “Over time, this will just be how search works.” 

There is fundamentally no difference between training an AI to sing like Frank Sinatra by feeding it Sinatra songs and training SGE to answer questions about what bikes to buy by training it on articles about bikes. But yet! There is no AI Music Incubator for the web and no set of friendly blog posts about working together with web publishers. Google’s position when it comes to the web is explicit: if its search crawlers can see content on the open web, it can use that content to train AI. The company’s privacy policy was just updated to say it may “use publicly available information to help train Google’s AI models and build products and features like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities.” 

Read Nilay Patel's piece in it's entirety, you will learn a lot, I know I have.

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