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20 Mar 2023

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New Era of AI Opening New Legal Pandora's Boxes

Lawyers and legal actions are entering the AI picture, according to a report from Bloomberg. The report says the beta site Character.AI is a precipitator. The site lets users “talk” to particular people – say, Yoda or Sigmund Freud or anyone else – conjured up by the system.

Obvious intellectual-property issues quickly arise from this idea. Any person or company who has tried to use Mickey Mouse or the Super Bowl will quickly hear from the organizations that own them and be strongly warned off. The same will hold true for any peson or character who is considered the IP of someone else.

Character.AI recently received funding valuing it at $1 billion, and is not the only site swimming in these dangerous waters, according to the Bloomberg report. Lawsuits have already been filed by Getty against Stability AI regarding the latter's image scraping, and Stability AI has also been targeted b a class-action suit. OpenAI is also under fire, in this case for using a variety of published articles from other organizations to train its AI tools, according to Bloomberg.

The advent of digital photography for consumers a few decades ago opened up a large Pandora'x box of concerns about the use of images, their ability to be manipulated in the digital realm, and the value of existing and new intellectual property created from them. Music sampling has long been fertile ground for legal actions against appropriated content as well. Now AI is opening new boxes and it remains to be seen whether these initial actions (and other actions that are sure to follow) will rein in AI developers, impede the development of AI, or lead to any sort of established practices within this new Wild West era. On the other hand, sometimes a lawsuit is just a lawsuit.

Image from Character.AI

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