The Ballad of the Blog
Writer Alan Jacobs has some strong words for those of us still using social media:
The decision to be on Twitter (or Facebook, etc.) is not simply a personal choice. It has run-on effects for you but also for others. When you use the big social media platforms you contribute to their power and influence, and you deplete the energy and value of the open web. You make things worse for everyone. I truly believe that. Which is why I’m so obnoxiously repetitive on this point.
Jacobs’ attitude is in line with my previous thoughts on intention and the depersonalization of ‘newsfeed culture.’ The reality of supporting a corporate behemoth that’s up to no good is also something I struggle with. I’ve picked up my Twitter usage over the past few months, not decreased it, telling myself it’s a useful tool for networking. And I’m still paying for Facebook ads on my label releases. I feel like a little part of me dies every time I send a dollar to Facebook.
It’s remarkable that — though admittedly part of a tiny minority — we’re all asking these questions at the same time. And this is a conversation we need to have, whether supporting artists outside of Spotify or finding promotional and networking avenues that don’t involve Facebook. I’m not the only one to plant a flag in these issues. But I’d like the blog to talk more about how we wrestle with the tension between the independent creative community and the corporate interests propped up as gatekeepers. Music’s place in the 21st century, indeed.
Sound-Alikes: Litigating the AI Mimic
Dani Deahl in The Verge:
The word “human” does not appear at all in US copyright law, and there’s not much existing litigation around the word’s absence. This has created a giant gray area and left AI’s place in copyright unclear. It also means the law doesn’t account for AI’s unique abilities, like its potential to work endlessly and mimic the sound of a specific artist. Depending on how legal decisions shake out, AI systems could become a valuable tool to assist creativity, a nuisance ripping off hard-working human musicians, or both. […]
If [an AI] system then makes music that sounds like Beyoncé, is Beyoncé owed anything? Several legal experts believe the answer is “no.” […] “There’s nothing legally requiring you to give her any profits from it unless you’re directly sampling,” [Public Knowledge policy counsel Meredith] Rose says. There’s room for debate, she says, over whether this is good for musicians. “I think courts and our general instinct would say, ‘Well, if an algorithm is only fed Beyoncé songs and the output is a piece of music, it’s a robot. It clearly couldn’t have added anything to this, and there’s nothing original there.’”
I’m not so sure. It could turn out that the controversial “Blurred Lines” ruling laid the groundwork for litigating AI-mimicry.