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. ⚔️

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. ⚡

Read It

Japan’s Nippon Takes Over U.S. Steel

After months of bidding, U.S. Steel finally has a buyer. However, the auction’s winner has some parties concerned. 🤔

Japan’s Nippon Steel emerged as the top bidder for the 122-year-old steelmaker, beating out offers from Cleveland-Cliffs, ArcelorMittal, and Nucor. Its $55 per share price represents a 142% premium to where $X shares were trading before Cleveland-Cliffs’ $35-per-share offer kicked off the bidding war.

Read It

Trouble Continues For Telecoms

We last talked about Telecom stocks about six months ago, when their stocks came under significant pressure due to slowing growth, competition concerns, and regulatory issues. We then discussed them in October when investors dumped defensive stocks for higher-yielding treasuries with no risk.

Prices have since rebounded sharply with the broader market as investors priced in Fed rate cuts this year. However, Verizon was back in the news today for a not-so-great reason. Let’s dig in. 👇

Read It

What’s With All The Accounting Issues?

Accounting is the practice of using numbers to tell the story of a company’s past, present, and future. For an investor, these numbers and stories are the foundation of all decisions, so it’s imperative that they’re done correctly. And generally, they are.

But lately, there’s been an uptick in the number of accounting mishaps making their way into the financial markets. Today we got a few more instances of this problem, so let’s take a look. 📝

Read It