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First off today, Nick Statt at The Verge reports that hip-hop artist Jay-Z and his label, Roc Nation, have filed multiple takedown notices against videos that use artificial intelligence-powered impersonation, better known as deepfakes.
The story begins when Andy Baio, the co-founder of XOXO festival, wrote a piece on deepfakes and linked to two such videos featuring Jay-Z rapping Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy from Hamlet and Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire. However, Jay-Z responded by filing copyright takedown notices with YouTube, hitting the channel with copyright strikes, for those two videos.
According to those takedown notices, the videos “unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client’s voice.” However, there are debates as to whether Jay-Z’s claims are valid as the video creator may have strong fair use arguments. That said, YouTube has restored the videos in question saying that it reviewed the takedowns and found that they were incomplete.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that a Danish woman who sold access to her Dropbox account filled with pirated copies of academic textbooks has been handed a suspended sentence for her activities.
The woman, whose name was not mentioned in the article, sold access to her Dropbox for 20 kronor ($3), which provided access to some 115 textbooks sold by local publishers. However, after posting the ad, the police quickly got it removed and identified the seller. She was later charged and, on Monday, was handed a suspended 20-day prison sentence and a financial confiscation order.
The case was partially pursued by the local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, which aided the police in the case and pushed for it to be addressed. The sentence is similar to two nearly-identical cases of ebook piracy that were also concluded by local police.
3: Appeals Court Upholds Judgments in Favor of Infogroup: DatabaseUSA, Vinod Gupta Owe More Than $22 Million
Finally today, a press release by Infogroup writes that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a jury verdict in favor of the database company Infogroup against their former CEO and founder Vinod Gupta and his new company DatabaseUSA.
According to the lawsuit, when Gupta left Infogroup for DatabaseUSA, he took with him several elements from Infogroup that were used in his new company. Because of that, Infogroup sued both DatabaseUSA and Gupta personally for a variety of things including violating their database copyright, their trademarks, unfair competition and more.
In August 2018, a jury found in favor of Infogroup and handed down a $21.2 million judgment against the defendants. That included $11.2 million for DatabaseUSA and $10 million for Gupta himself. DatabaseUSA, unable to pay the judgment, has since gone into bankruptcy but the company is still seeking to hold Gupta, as well as other companies connected with him, liable.