Fair Use in the Training of A.I. Models
A.I. on the hot seat scraping the internet for profit.
Scraping the internet used to be bad, that is, until huge LLMs came along.
Now Matthew Butterick, a programmer, designer, writer and lawyer in Los Angeles is on a legal crusade to challenge the “fair use” argument. I detailed his case vs. Microsoft GitHub Copilot a few weeks ago.
Now, he’s going after text-to-image leaders like Stable Diffusion, Midjourney's and others. The Joseph Saveri Law Firm, LLP—a leading class action firm with offices in California and New York—along with Matthew Butterick, and Lockridge, Grindal, Nauen P.L.L.P. have filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a class of plaintiffs seeking compensation for damages caused by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney, and an injunction to prevent future harms.
The reason is important if “fair use” is allowed to continue, centralized foundational models will mean commercial profits are funneled to a few startups and their benefactors, typically Cloud and BigTech players. It could impact the future of A.I. as a whole, accelerating wealth re-distribution into the hands of Silicon Valley and BigTech elites, even at a faster rate as they develop Generative A.I. moats and increased diversification around AI-as-a-Service models.
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