News and Commentary
In the most recent and interesting intersection of artificial intelligence and copyright law, programmer/musicians Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin have produced an AI that generates over 300,000 melodies per second, uploaded to GitHub under a Creative Commons Zero (public domain) license. The legal merits of this as a tool to prevent copyright infringement are suspect (their reference to the notes as “numbers” and speculation that melodies are just math, and as facts cannot be copyrighted raises some questions), but the absurdity of this solution is matched by the absurdity of copyright law.
After a failed challenge by a group of musicians called Satorii, the copyright for Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” was found to be valid (sort of). The lawyers filing suit against the publisher, Ludlow Music and Richmond Organization, were the same legal team that helped bring “Happy Birthday to You” into the public domain, and argued that for technical reasons related to a failure to re-register the copyright, the song belonged in the public domain. A federal judge ruled based on a different technicality, finding that since Satorii had already payed the licensing fee, there was nothing to adjudicate.
As the world waits for a vaccine for COVID-19, the government has already spent over $700 million on research for similar coronaviruses. Niskanen Center has signed onto Public Citizen’s letter imploring the administration to ensure affordability for the fruits of taxpayer-financed research, which you can read here.
Litigation over the use of the “this is wrong on so many levels” meme continues, after a family owned business used it was sued for copyright infringement by none other than Richard Liebowitz, representing the rights holder Matthew Bradley.
Christoph Schmon writes for EFF about how Article 17 (formerly Article 13) of the EU’s copyright directive may run afoul of protections under the GDPR regulations that allow protection against automated decsion-making software, such as those required with mandatory upload filters.
A new paper from the American Economic Association examines how forced sharing of patents, a product of the 1956 consent decree against Bell Labs, can spur innovation. The forced sharing of patents opened up further innovation in markets outside of the telecommunications sector.
A new paper from Shobita Parthasarathy in Science and Public Policy takes a broader view of how better qualitative research is necessary to examine how patents are used to promote innovation, the political economy of the patent landscape, and the methodology for these public policy examinations.