AI’s Copyright Crisis Begins

We all knew copyright law would be a key issue at the heart of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution, but we didn’t know when. Well, the time has come. ⌛

Today, The New York Times filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI, accusing them of infringing copyright and abusing the newspaper’s intellectual property. In its court filing, the publisher said it looks to hold the two companies accountable for the “unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works,” claiming billions in statutory and actual damages.

While The Times told CNBC it recognizes the power and potential of GenAI for the public and for journalism, it noted that material used for commercial gain should receive permission from the original source. It continued, saying, “Settled copyright law protects our journalism and content. If Microsoft and OpenAI want to use our work for commercial purposes, the law requires that they first obtain our permission. They have not done so.” 📰

Ultimately, The Times joined several other media publishers in accusing Microsoft, OpenAI, and their competitors of creating a business model based on “mass copyright infringement.” 

Until now, OpenAI and other companies creating generative AI models have been operating under the premise that if they get large enough, the sins they made along the way would ultimately be forgiven. That’s very much like the model Uber and other disruptive companies used, skirting rules and regulations until they became so ingrained in society that regulators had no choice but to retroactively apply fines and punishments that hurt but did not kill the company. 🤠

With The Times enlisting the help of the litigation firm that represented Dominion Voting Systems in its $787.50 million defamation suit against Fox News, many expect this to be the case that sets the tone for the industry going forward. 🧑‍⚖️

Suppose these companies must follow copyright law and get permission from the creators/owners of the assets they’re using to train their AI models. In that case, the industry is likely to grow at a much, much slower pace than initially anticipated. That said, this controversial debate will likely take significant time to work through the courts.

Meanwhile, Apple is taking a different approach. It’s reportedly exploring a deal with news publishers worth at least $50 million to train its generative AI systems on their articles. The consumer tech giant has taken a more conservative approach toward AI, keeping toward the back of the pack and learning from others’ mistakes. 🤝

We’ll have to wait and see what happens. But clearly, the stakes have just been raised for the AI space, with copyright owners showing they’re not going down without a fight. ⚔️

Boeing Loses Altitude (Again)

If you’re an investor in airlines or airplane manufacturers, this is not the type of headline you want to wake up to. Unfortunately for Boeing and several others, the news is not great. So let’s dig into it. 👇

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Thailand Scores Major EV Win

Thailand has been helping lead the electric vehicle (EV) push, with the second-biggest economy in Southeast Asia looking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. ♻️

The country is known as the “Detroit of Asia,” serving as a major manufacturing hub. As part of that, it’s looking to make 30% of its car output electric by 2030 so that it doesn’t lose its leadership position in the EV transition. Its government is putting up major funds to help fund that, approving $970 million in tax cuts and subsidies to help encourage demand and boost local production. ⚡

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Adobe Leads Day Of Breakups

Most of today’s stories were related to hookups in the market, but we also need to touch on some major breakups. 💔

The first and most prevalent news story was that Adobe and Figma have called off their $20 billion acquisition. The two companies have faced intense scrutiny from European regulators, today saying, “There is no clear path to receive necessary regulatory approvals from the European Commission and the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority.”

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Justice Department Targets UnitedHealth

With the upcoming presidential election looming, the current administration is itching to accomplish more before a potential shakeup. While antitrust regulators have had a field day with big tech, airlines, grocery chains, and others this year, they’re taking another look at UnitedHealth, especially given its recent cybersecurity issues. 🕵️‍♂️

The Justice Department is poking around to figure out the relationship between the company’s UnitedHealthcare insurance unit and its Optum health-services division. They’ve asked how UnitedHealth’s acquisitions of doctor groups might affect competitors and consumers. 🤔

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