Best-selling novelists sue OpenAI for copyright infringement

Godfrey Elimian
Copyright Infringement: John Grisham joins group of prominent novelists to sue OpenAI
Copyright Infringement: John Grisham joins group of prominent novelists to sue OpenAI

Hello there, welcome to another round of the Global Tech Roundup. This week, Elon Musk and X made headlines for so many reasons. First were his plans to monetise the platform for all users, and then his grand plan to make X the all-around platform.

A group of prominent novelists, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen and Elin Hilderbrand, are joining the legal battle against OpenAI over its chatbot technology, as fears about the encroachment of artificial intelligence on creative industries continue to grow.

Musk announced that  X is “moving to having a small monthly payment for use of the X system” in order to combat “vast armies of bots. But it seems not everybody took that in good faith, as a new analysis of Bluesky’s web traffic and mobile app usage shows that the would-be X competitor hit a daily active user record immediately after that statement.

Later on, Musk dropped a trailer for his “everything app” X, which looks like the platform has ambitions to become YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, LinkedIn, Patreon, Venmo, FaceTime and Amazon all in one… and yet also serve as a “global town square” where users can have meaningful social dialogue.

In other news, TikTok has been ordered to pay a $379 million fine by the Irish Data Protection Commission for breaching the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in relation to the handling of children’s data.

ChatGPT can now generate images — and they are shockingly detailed. On Wednesday, OpenAI, the San Francisco artificial intelligence start-up, released a new version of its DALL-E image generator to a small group of testers and folded the technology into ChatGPT, its popular online chatbot.

We will share details of these news items and more in this week’s global roundup. Here is a summary of the bulletin.

  • John Grisham joins lawsuit against OpenAI
  • Bluesky sees record user activity, amidst X’s paywall plan
  • TikTok fined $379 million by Irish Data Protection
  • ChatGPT can now generate images
  • Musk releases trailer video for “everything app” X

Read also: iPhone 15 Pro still missing some key features

John Grisham joins lawsuit against OpenAI

A group of prominent novelists, including John Grisham, Jonathan Franzen and Elin Hilderbrand, are joining the legal battle against OpenAI over its chatbot technology, as fears about the encroachment of artificial intelligence on creative industries continue to grow.

Copyright Infringement: John Grisham joins group of prominent novelists to sue OpenAI

More than a dozen authors filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, accusing the company, which has been backed with billions of dollars in investment from Microsoft, of infringing on their copyrights by using their books to train its popular ChatGPT chatbot.

The complaint, which was filed along with the Authors Guild, said that OpenAI’s chatbots can now produce “derivative works” that can mimic and summarize the authors’ books, potentially harming the market for authors’ work and that the writers were neither compensated nor notified by the company.

“The success and profitability of OpenAI are predicated on mass copyright infringement without a word of permission from or a nickel of compensation to copyright owners,” the complaint said.

The complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, said that while OpenAI does not publicly declare which works it uses to train its models, the company has admitted to using copyrighted material.

Bluesky sees record user activity, amidst X’s paywall plan

Social network Bluesky once again benefited from Elon Musk’s missteps with X. According to a new analysis of Bluesky’s web traffic and mobile app usage, the would-be X competitor hit a daily active user record just after Musk announced he would begin charging all X users a small monthly fee to use its services.

Musk’s announcement was made during a live-streamed event on September 18, where the X owner explained that a subscription payment would be necessary in order to combat the “vast armies of bots” on the platform. X users, meanwhile, didn’t seem to like that news, as they sent Bluesky’s numbers soaring.

A related report from Mashable noted that Bluesky saw a record number of sign-ups after Musk announced his plans to charge X users, noting that Bluesky saw a total of 53,585 new signups by the end of Tuesday, September 19. That figure equates to 5% of the platform’s entire user base of roughly 1.13 million accounts.

Analytics firm Similarweb now further backs up those findings with its latest report that indicates Bluesky’s Android app saw half a million daily active users on the day of Musk’s announcement, September 18, and its web traffic surged even higher.

On Android, the daily active users metric was up 20.6% from the day prior, but it doesn’t have an estimate for iOS usage at this time, only saying it expects the trend to be similar.

TikTok fined $379 million by Irish Data Protection Commission

TikTok has been ordered to pay a $379 million fine by the Irish Data Protection Commission for breaching the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in relation to the handling of children’s data. The ruling also requires TikTok to rectify its data processing practices to comply with GDPR standards within the next three months.

Somalia bans TikTok, Telegram, and 1XBet

The DPC’s investigation revealed that TikTok had infringed on eight articles of the GDPR, including violations related to the lawfulness, fairness, and transparency of data processing, data minimization, data security, controller responsibility, data protection by design and default, and the rights of data subjects, including minors, to receive clear information about data processing and disclosures of their personal data.

The investigation did not uncover any breaches in TikTok’s age verification methods which had previously been a contentious issue with various regional regulators.

Nevertheless, the DPC’s decision shows that TikTok failed to implement adequate technical and organizational measures to address specific risks faced by users under the age of 13 who accessed the platform. Notably, the default account settings allowed anyone, both within and outside TikTok, to view content posted by these underage users.

ChatGPT can now generate images

On Wednesday, OpenAI, the San Francisco artificial intelligence start-up, released a new version of its DALL-E image generator to a small group of testers and folded the technology into ChatGPT, its popular online chatbot.

Called DALL-E 3, it can produce more convincing images than previous versions of the technology, showing a particular knack for images containing letters, numbers and human hands, the company said.

“It is far better at understanding and representing what the user is asking for,” said Aditya Ramesh, an OpenAI researcher, adding that the technology was built to have a more precise grasp of the English language.

OpenAI boss Sam Altman gave an example of how the dual functionality could be used, saying that it could write and illustrate a children’s bedtime story from a few simple prompts.

Current text-to-image systems, such as Midjourney or OpenAI’s Dall-E 2, often misinterpret commands from users due to their inability to understand specific requests.

Musk releases trailer video for “everything app” X

Elon Musk has dropped a trailer for his “everything app” X, which looks like the platform has ambitions to become YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, LinkedIn, Patreon, Venmo, FaceTime and Amazon all in one… and yet also serve as a “global town square” where users can have meaningful social dialogue.

Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, posted the trailer on Thursday and described it as a “hint of what’s to come.”

The trailer takes the viewer through various new features that have already been launched on X (such as the creator payment scheme) and some yet-to-be-released features. A few, like video calling on the platform, have been hinted at previously, but the trailer mashes together this and a host of other services other apps already offer, like live TV viewing like YouTube.

The trailer uses the example of a fictional user called Claire. Importantly, the user is shown as a subscribed X Premium user, so it is unclear if the features in the trailer will be available to non-paying X users.


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