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Exclusive: Copyright law is going to get real interesting, y’all – TalkOfNews.com

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Copyright law is going to get real interesting, y’all

#Copyright #law #real #interesting #yall

As millions of people are playing with AI-powered image-generation tools like DALL-E and Midjourney, new works of art are generated by the billions. Many of them are curiosities, some of them are legitimately incredible works of art that I wouldn’t hesitate to stick on my wall. In fact, I did; I have a Meural digital art display, and it’s currently playing a rotation of some of the most interesting works of art Midjourney has generated for me.

The picture above made me think, though; the prompt for it is “Lovers, in the style of Banksy,” which is remarkably close, stylistically, as a lot of other Banksy works — it even put the frame on it for me, unprompted. With a small amount of manual retouching (or with a lot more experimentation), I am confident I could get Midjourney to generate a work that anybody would recognize as “a Banksy”.

The challenge becomes complex, and I’m going to be keeping a very close eye on the legal universe to see how this is going to evolve over time. There are a few obvious issues here, and a few less obvious ones, but a few of the curiosities I have right out of the gate are related to copyright and plagiarism.

Are we all just monkeys pressing shutter buttons?

If you are using a free or a trial account for Midjourney, you are granted a Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License, which means that you’d be able to use the images as long as you don’t sell them or make money off them, and as long as you give credit (“attribution”) to Midjourney. If you pay for your account, the company says “You basically own all Assets you create using Midjourney’s image generation and chat services”.

In its terms of service, the company further specifies that you grant Midjourney a “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts you input into the Services, or Assets produced by the service at your direction.” In other words, even if you “create” a new piece of art, and you have all rights to use the images the service creates, Midjourney also keeps its own license to use your works, including sublicensing.

The other quirk is that “Midjourney is an open community that allows others to use and remix your images and prompts whenever they are posted in a public setting.” Which means that even if you spend a bunch of time creating very finely tuned prompts of what you created, another user can use your image as the base for their own experimentation, and in theory create derivative works that are extremely similar to “yours”.

Now, imagine a world where you generate some really cool art. You develop a unique style that “only you” are able to create using Midjourney’s tools, and you decide to sell them, whether as NFTs, prints or what have you. Because of the license agreement you have with Midjourney, the company could start selling or licensing “your” artworks. It probably won’t; that would be pretty bad business. But another user could further evolve “your” style and images and start selling their own artworks based on those.

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There’s another edge case as well; in theory, with the same prompts and the random seed that’s used for generating the images, you could end up with someone else generating the same, or a very similar, image as what you created. They could start selling that image, and we end up with a really curious situation where two people genuinely created an image that they thought was their own original but accidentally end up with extremely visually similar graphics.

Then there’s the issue of plagiarism. At the top of this article, I “created” something that’s recognizable as a “Banksy”. That artist in particular is interesting because his identity is unknown, and he is a fervent anti-capitalist, which means he’s relatively unlikely to a) come out of hiding and b) sue me for “creating a Banksy”. Besides, there are a lot more fake Banksys out there that were created with stencils and spray paint, that would be more sensible to go after. The point remains, however; there are a fair few contemporary artists out there with very distinctive styles, and over time, the AI will learn to emulate many of them. These styles are not copyrighted, but they could very well be trademarked in one way or another. And even if it wouldn’t be “illegal” to plagiarize the style of another artist, I can totally see how an artist with a distinctive style would be miffed if some nerd such as myself suddenly started selling NFTs in their style.

One example; I challenged Midjourney to create “a colorful graffiti mural of Batman and Robin in Beautiful, Downtown, Oakland, California,” and ended up with this. Now I’m not familiar enough with individual graffiti styles to recognize this as the potential work of a specific artist, but it’s not unthinkable that I’ve accidentally plagiarized someone with that prompt.

It becomes a question of who created a certain work of art. A few years ago there was a curious case of a monkey taking selfies with a photographer’s camera. Personally — and even if it is hard for the monkey to represent itself in court to defend its rights — I think that a monkey pressing the shutter button and having creative input into the way the image looks deserves its own copyright. The courts went the other way after a long and drawn-out process.

It leaves me to wonder; are we all just monkeys pressing shutter buttons, or do we “own” the copyright due to the amount of our own creativity we add to the process, even in a situation where very few of us — including Midjourney itself — are able to explain the exact process of how a particular image came to be generated.


I asked Midjourney to generate an image with the prompt “a monkey taking a photo with a SLR camera, photo-realistic, hyper-detailed –ar 16:9 –s 1250”. It is almost as if the AI knew I was trying to make a point — in this case, it even signed its work, albeit illegibly. Image Credits: Haje Kamps (opens in a new window) / Midjourney (opens in a new window)

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Exclusive: The iPhone 14 Pro’s camera cutout might look a lot like a notch after all – TalkOfNews.com

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Weibo leak of iPhone 14 Pro design and packaging sticker

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Exclusive: Now you can watch Paramount Plus and Showtime in a single app – TalkOfNews.com

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Now you can watch Paramount Plus and Showtime in a single app

#watch #Paramount #Showtime #single #app

You can now access the content packed into Paramount Plus and Showtime from a single app. First bundled as a subscription last September, Paramount and Showtime’s catalogs have been separated between two apps for viewers in the US, but viewers can now access the full roster of TV shows and films from the Paramount Plus app.

For new subscribers, the Paramount Plus and Showtime bundle is available at a discounted rate until October 2nd, at $7.99 per month for the Essential plan (which includes ad breaks) with Showtime and $12.99 per month for the Premium plan with Showtime that adds more sports, live broadcasts of your local CBS station, and downloads for offline viewing on mobile, and mostly removes ads, except on live TV and certain shows. After October 2nd, the regular pricing resumes with the combined Essential tier at $11.99 per month and the Premium plan for $14.99 monthly.

Paramount Plus as a standalone service will continue to be available on two subscription tiers without Showtime: the ad-supported Essential plan ($4.99 per month) and the ad-free Premium tier ($9.99 per month).

“This singular user experience streamlines sign-up and enhances discovery, and this lower price will allow more households to enjoy with exceptional entertainment offering,” Paramount Global Streaming president Tom Ryan said in a press release announcing the new service.

iPhone screen showing the paramount plus app highlighting the showtime series your honor

Paramount Plus and Showtime were previously bundled in two apps under one price.
Image: Paramount
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In case you haven’t been streaming Star Trek and Halo TV shows for the past few years, here’s the rundown on what these apps are. Paramount Plus is the rebranded version of CBS All Access. Its parent company, ViacomCBS, rebranded to Paramount earlier this year to further focus its attention on streaming. In May, Paramount Plus reported that its subscriber count grew to almost 40 million during its first quarter, and in June, Paramount Plus said it planned “to commission” 150 international original series, adding more to its current roster.

Laptop screen with Paramount Plus on the screen highlighting the Showtime series Billions

The service will be available at a lower price until October 2nd.
Image: Paramount

In mid-August, the streaming service partnered with Walmart to bundle its service with Walmart Plus, and it has been included in other packages like this one with T-Mobile’s wireless service. These bundles don’t cost quite as much as cable once did, but pulling the offerings closer together is similar to Disney’s approach with the combination of Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus, while HBO Max will be absorbed into a new combo app with Discovery Plus in 2023. Netflix, meanwhile, is going it alone but has plans to roll out an ad-supported streaming package, and has started to offer games as an added feature for your subscription fee.

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Exclusive: Who Should Be the Next James Bond? io9 Picks – TalkOfNews.com

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Who Should Be the Next James Bond? io9 Picks

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