+++ German Valeo GmbH Sues Nvidia Over Employees Stolen Trade Secrets +++ Trump’s Truth Social Sues 20 News Organizations For Defamation Asking $1.5 Billion
German Valeo GmbH Sues Nvidia Over Employees Stolen Trade Secrets Nvidia is facing a lawsuit from car technology firm Valeo, alleging that a senior Nvidia staff member, Mohammad Moniruzzaman, inadvertently revealed stolen tech secrets during a video call. Moniruzzaman, who previously worked for Valeo, allegedly displayed a file containing source code for Valeo’s parking and driving assistance software. Valeo claims he took gigabytes of data when he left the company to join Nvidia. German authorities convicted Moniruzzaman in September 2023, leading to Valeo’s lawsuit against Nvidia for benefiting from “stolen trade secrets.” The lawsuit seeks significant damages and an injunction against Nvidia’s use of Valeo’s code. Nvidia denies awareness of the stolen data until May 2022 and asserts it took prompt steps to protect Valeo’s rights.
Read the full report on BBC. Read the full report on Fortune. Read the case Valeo Schalter und Sensoren GmbH v. Nvidia Corporation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:23-cv-05721-VKD
Former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social Sues 20 News Organizations For Defamation Asking $1.5 Billion Trump Media and Technology Group Corporation, the company behind Truth Social, is seeking $1.5 billion in damages from 20 news organizations for erroneously reporting that the social media platform had lost $73 million. The company filed a lawsuit in a Florida state court, claiming the reported figure was an “utter fabrication” and accusing the outlets, including the Guardian and Reuters, of a “deliberate, malicious, and coordinated attack” against Truth Social. The news organizations, including Reuters, later corrected their stories, attributing the mistake to miscounting a $50.5 million profit as a loss. Trump Media & Technology Group alleges a coordinated campaign, while Reuters maintains its commitment to fair and accurate reporting. Truth Social, launched last year as Donald Trump’s alternative social network, has gained prominence after his suspension from Twitter and Facebook.
Read the full report on Bloomberg Law News. Read the case Trump Media and Technology Group v. Guardian, Hollywood Reporter, Reuters, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Axios, G/O Media, CNBC, et alia, 12th Judicial Circuit Court in and for Sarasota County, Filing # 186553510 E-Filed 11/20/2023 07:42:40 PM
Machine learning from legal precedent requires curating a dataset comprised of court decisions, judicial analysis, and legal briefs in a particular field that is used to train an algorithm to process the essence of these court decisions against a real-world scenario. This process must include dissenting opinions, minority views, and asymmetrical rulings to achieve near-human legal rationale and just outcomes.
tl;dr The use of machine learning is continuing to extend the capabilities of AI systems in the legal field. Training data is the cornerstone for producing useable machine learning results. Unfortunately, when it comes to judicial decisions, at times the AI is only being fed the majority opinions and not given the dissenting views (or, ill-prepared to handle both). We shouldn’t want and nor tolerate AI legal reasoning that is shaped so one-sidedly.
When AI researchers and developers conceive of legal large language models that are expected to produce legal outcomes it is crucial to include conflicting data or dissenting opinions. The author argues for a balanced, comprehensive training dataset inclusive of judicial majority and minority views. Current court opinions tend to highlight the outcome, or the views of the majority, and neglect close examination of dissenting opinions and minority views. This can result in unjust outcomes, missed legal case nuances, or bland judicial arguments. His main argument centers around a simple observation: justice is fundamentally born through a process of cognitive complexity. In other words, a straightforward ruling with unanimous views has little value in learning or evolving a certain area of the law but considering trade-offs, reflecting on and carefully weighing different ideas and values against each other does.
Thisopen-source legal large language model with an integrated external knowledge base exemplifies two key considerations representative of the status quo: (1) training data is compiled by crawling and scraping legally relevant information and key judicial text that exceeds a special area and is not limited to supporting views. (2) because the training data is compiled at scale and holistically, it can be argued that majority views stand to overrepresent model input considering that minority views often receive less attention, discussion, or reflection beyond an initial post-legal decision period. In addition, there might be complex circumstances in which a judge is split on a specific legal outcome. These often quiet moments of legal reasoning rooted in cognitive complexity hardly ever make it into a written majority or minority opinion. Therefore it is unlikely to be used for training purposes.
Another interesting consideration is the access to dissenting opinions and minority views. While access to this type of judicial writing may be available to the public at the highest levels, a dissenting view of a less public case at a lower level might not afford the same access. Gatekeepers such as WestLaw restrict the audience to these documents and their interpretations. Arguments for a fair learning exemption for large language models arise in various corners of the legal profession and are currently litigated by the current trailblazers of the AI boom.
A recent and insightful essay written by Seán Fobbes cautions excitement when it comes to legal large language models and their capabilities to produce legally and ethically accurate as well as just outcomes. From my cursory review, it will require much more fine-tuning and quality review than a mere assurance of dissenting opinions and minority views can incorporate. Food for thought that I shall devour in a follow up post.
+++ Google Sues Vietnamese Scammers Over BardAI Malware +++ AI-Powered Legal Service “DoNotPay” Wins Lawsuit Over Practice Without A License
Google Sues Vietnamese Scammers Over BardAI Malware Google is taking legal action against two groups of scammers. The first group spread malware by misleading users interested in Google’s generative AI tools. The second group abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to harm business competitors with fraudulent copyright notices. The lawsuits aim to stop these activities, set legal precedents, and raise awareness of the harm caused by fraudulent takedowns on small businesses. Google emphasizes its commitment to protecting users and promoting a safer internet through legal actions against scams and frauds.
Read the full press release on Google. Read the case Google v. Does 1-3, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:23-cv-05823-VKD
AI-Powered Legal Service “DoNotPay” Wins Lawsuit Over Practice Without A License A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by an Illinois law firm, MillerKing, against the artificial intelligence company DoNotPay. The law firm accused DoNotPay of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, but the judge ruled that MillerKing’s claims did not establish legal standing for the lawsuit. MillerKing had alleged that DoNotPay, which uses AI to assist consumers in legal matters, advertised and provided legal services without a proper license. The judge stated that MillerKing failed to show how it was harmed and allowed the law firm to amend its complaint. DoNotPay’s CEO expressed satisfaction with the decision, emphasizing the absence of concrete harm. Another lawsuit against DoNotPay, alleging unauthorized practice of law, is still pending.
Read the full report on Reuters. Read the case MillerKing LLC v. DoNotPay Inc, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, No. 3:23-CV-00863
Imagine a futuristic society where lawsuits are adjudicated within minutes. Accurately predicting the outcome of a legal action will change the way we adhere to rules and regulations.
tl;dr Lawyers are steeped in making predictions. A closely studied area of the law is known as Legal Judgment Prediction (LJP) and entails using computer models to aid in making legal-oriented predictions. These capabilities will be fueled and amplified via the advent of AI in the law.
We are in Mega-City One in the year 2099AD. The judiciary and law enforcement are one unit. Legal violations, disputes, infringements of social norms are enforced by street judges with a mandate to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals. Of course, this is the plot of Judge Joseph Dredd, but the technology in the year 2023AD is already on its way to making this dystopian vision a reality.
Forecasting the legal outcome of a proceeding is a matter of data analytics, access to information, and the absence of process-disrupting events. In our current time, this is a job for counsel and legal professionals. As representatives of the courts, lawyers are experts in reading a situation and introducing some predictability to it by adopting a clear legal strategy. Ambiguity and human error, however, make this process hardly repeatable – let alone reliable for future legal action.
Recent developments in the field of computer science, specifically around large-language models (LLM), natural language processing (NLP), retrieval augmented generation (RAG), and reinforced learning from human feedback (RLHF) have introduced technical capabilities to increase the quality of forecasting legal outcomes. It can be summarized as generative artificial intelligence (genAI). Crossfunctional efforts between computer science and legal academia coined this area of study “Legal Judgment Prediction” (LJP).
The litigation analytics platform “Pre/Dicta” exemplifies the progress of LJP by achieving prediction accuracy in the 86% percentile. In other words, the platform can forecast the decision of a judge in nearly 9 out of 10 cases. As impressive as this result is, the author points out that sentient behavior is a far-fetched reality for current technologies, which are largely based on statistical models with access to vast amounts of data. The quality of the data, the methods leveraged to train the model, and the application determine the accuracy and quality of the prediction. Moreover, the author makes a case for incorporating forecasting milestones and focusing on those, rather than attempting to predict the final result of a judicial proceeding that is very much dependent on factors that are challenging to quantify in statistical models. For example, research from 2011 established the “Hungry Judge Effect” which in essence stated a judge’s ruling has a tendency to be conservative if it happens before the judge had a meal (or on an empty stomach near the end of a court session) versus the same case would see a more favorable verdict if the decision process took place after the judge’s hunger had been satisfied and his mental fatigue had been mitigated.
Other factors that pose pitfalls for achieving near 100% prediction accuracy include the semantic alignment on “legal outcome”. In other words, what specifically is forecasted? The verdict of the district judge? The verdict of a district judge that will be challenged on appeal? Or perhaps the verdict and the sentencing procedure? Or something completely adjacent to the actual court proceedings? It might seem pedantic, but clarity around “what success looks like” is paramount when it comes to legal forecasting.
While Mega-City One might still be a futuristic vision, our current technology is inching closer and closer to a “Minority Report” type of scenario where powerful, sentient or not, technologies churn through vast amounts of intelligence information and behavioral data to forecast and supplement human decision making. The real two questions for us as a human collective beyond borders will be: (1) how much control are we willing to delegate to machines? and (2) how do we rectify injustices once we lose control over the judiciary?
+++ Choreography Copyright Confirmed in Lawsuit Against Fortnite Maker Epic Games +++ Movie Studio Seeks Dismissal In Copyright Lawsuit Over “Top Gun: Maverick” Movie +++ Hollywood Views Copyright Law Sufficient To Address AI-Infringement And Beyond +++ Amazon Sued For Failing To Issue Refunds
Choreography Copyright Confirmed in Lawsuit Against Fortnite Maker Epic Games Choreographer Kyle Hanagami’s lawsuit against Fortnite maker Epic Games, accusing them of stealing his dance choreography for the in-game emote “It’s Complicated,” has been reinstated by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The lower court had dismissed the case, but the appeals court disagreed, stating that the choreography was a substantial component of Hanagami’s work. The case will go back to court. This mirrors previous lawsuits against Epic for allegedly stealing dance moves, dropped in 2019 due to a Supreme Court ruling.
Read the full report on TechCrunch. Read the case Kyle Hanagami v. EPIC Games Inc, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, No. 22-55890
Movie Studio Seeks Dismissal In Copyright Lawsuit Over “Top Gun: Maverick” Movie Paramount Pictures has requested a California federal court to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that “Top Gun: Maverick” violated the copyright of reporter Ehud Yonay’s heirs, who claim the film is a derivative work of Yonay’s article “Top Guns.” Paramount argues that the films are dissimilar, sharing only the subject of Top Gun, to which the heirs have no special right. The Yonays counter that “Maverick” infringes on their copyright, claiming Paramount ignores the significant similarities and creative choices made in crafting the original article. The legal dispute centers on exclusive movie rights obtained by Paramount for Yonay’s article.
Read the full report on Reuters. Read the case Shosh and Yuval Yonay v. Paramount Pictures et al, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:22-cv-03846-PA-GJS
Hollywood Views Copyright Law Sufficient To Address AI-Infringement And Beyond Hollywood, typically an advocate for expanding copyright laws, surprisingly agrees with the view that existing copyright doctrines are sufficient to address AI-related questions. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) suggests that current laws provide the necessary tools for handling AI issues within copyright frameworks. This stance may be influenced by ongoing strikes in the entertainment industry, where AI plays a central role. The MPA is cautious about potential limitations on AI use if copyright laws are revisited. However, the article criticizes the MPA’s sweeping generalizations on fair use and emphasizes the need for nuanced considerations. The unusual alignment of interests in the AI space is noted, with internet properties opposing copyright expansion while some in Hollywood express concerns. The article emphasizes the importance of taking principled stands for the internet, people, and innovation.
Read the full report on Techdirt. Read the matter Artificial Intelligence and Copyright, U.S. Copyright Office, No. USCO 2023-6
Amazon Sued For Failing To Issue Refunds Amazon is being sued in a class action lawsuit in Seattle for allegedly failing to issue refunds for returned products, violating its own policies, and engaging in a systematic scheme that deceived customers through unfair trade practices. This follows previous legal action, including an antitrust complaint by the Federal Trade Commission against Amazon. The new case, represented by Holly Jones Clark, claims widespread issues with refunds and cites instances where customers were not reimbursed after returns.
Read the full report on GeekWire. Read the case Holly Jones Clarke v. Amazon.com Inc, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle, No. 2:23-cv-01702
The death of Matthew Perry made me reflect on my emotional response to a stranger’s passing. I found intriguing research that explores the psychological concept of parasocial relationships and cybermourning to help me understand why I experience a sensation of loss when an entertainer’s final curtain is lowered.
tl;dr Using thematic analysis, the researcher studied 1,299 condolences posted on the obituary website Legacy.com to come up with themes that opened the window to cybermourning and parasocial relationships on the night worldly-famous comedian and actor Robin Williams hanged himself, August, 11, 2014. In addition to the themes that emerged, loss, appreciation and celebration, the study revealed that a majority of cybermourners had developed a deep parasocial relationship with Williams and viewed him as more than a comedian. They saw him as a close friend or relative who had died. The deeply emotional posts outnumbered two to one the posts from cybermourners whose condolences were respectful, short and generic. Fans also shared intimate life struggles associated with drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness with their virtual “close” friend Williams who was also struggling with the same demons. This paper discusses cybermourning, parasocial relationships and the pros and cons of such online relationships.
On October 28, 2023 news broke about the passing of television actor and “Friends” star Matthew Perry. The Hollywood Reporter described his passing feels like “when a Beatle dies”. Perry struggled with alcoholism his entire career and he was outspoken about mental health. I can’t remember when I first watched the show Friends. When I watched it, I never reached a level of binge-watching episode after episode. Yet the writers delivered a storyline so universally applicable that we, as the audience, really bought into a group of friends just trying to grow up and find their place in this ever-expanding world. It was my story. It was your story. It was our story.
Perry’s passing reminded me of the deaths of other celebrities: Steve Jobs, Anthony Bourdain, Chester Bennington, Sean Connery, Paul Walker, Carrie Fisher, Kirstie Alley, Betty White, and many more. But perhaps most notable among them is Robin Williams. The paper starts by explaining the concept of cybermourning as a process to take grief to social media and immortalize it in cyberspace. Facebook will become a place where more deceased than alive profiles make up their account statistics. Websites like legacy.com offer a last farewell that can be revisited at all times. It is a collective experience as others are allowed to share their condolences. The concept of our human response to death itself is complex. Mankind has always mourned the passing of one of us. Mourning can be described as an elevated emotional grief induced by the outside event of the passing of a loved one. It does help to reunite those left behind, but it also serves as a healing period. On the other hand, parasocial relationships are a concept almost entirely tied to the onset of audiovisual communication technology, e.g. cinema, television, and streaming. It describes the identification of the viewer with the portrayed character. People seek out similarities, similar behaviors, and other personality traits. In extreme cases, people want to be that person (even when they know it is a fictional character that only exists in a Hollywood storyline). The internet and relentless news coverage impact the intensity of a parasocial relationship.
Against this backdrop, the author designed two research questions to study the public’s emotional response when actor Robin Williams died.
What themes explain how cybermourners mourned the night Williams died?
What happened to cybermourners who developed parasocial relationships with Williams?
The research reviewed 1,299 responses posted to the obituary page of Robin Williams on legacy.com. His page continues to receive postings to this day. They identified three themes among the posts: loss, appreciation, and celebration. Most strikingly, they found people had developed a near-intimate relationship with Robin Williams because of the shared emotional struggles, alcoholism, and humor that get us through the day. The internet’s permanent access and appearance of a “personal space” that lives on our computers or in our phones lowered inhibitions to share fears, secret desires, and vulnerable emotions associated with the career of Robin Williams.
Early psychological research suggested these types of parasocial relationships are linked to fears, isolation, and diminished social experiences. More recent research, however, found that parasocial relationships, and their natural end, may invoke cathartic effects that help people to develop a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. Cybermourning can provide a therapeutic relief that is shared by thousands or millions of others online. Therefore it can neutralize the experience of grief and sadness that commonly occur with learning about someone’s death. Lastly, it can raise awareness of the universal human struggle that we all experience – from addiction to mental health.
Matthew Perry playing Chandler on Friends helped millions of non-English speakers to learn English. The show introduced everyday cultural norms, although exaggerated, to an audience unfamiliar with American customs and traditions. This helped shape the social fabric of the United States. Anyone lucky to watch Friends during their late teenage years may look back fondly on the curiosity that surrounded social experiences, your first relationship, your first disagreement, your first job loss, your first financial struggle, and all these other experiences that we all universally endure and overcome.
Perhaps learning about Chandler’s passing made me reflect on my mortality and how fleeting this experience that we call life really is (loss). It is a stark reminder of the importance of healthy relationships, compassion, and compromise (appreciation) – but really that these things are worth working for because they are so rare and the cast of Friends made us whole showing us that (celebration).
+++ SEC Sues SolarWinds For Fraud In Aftermath of Russian Cyberattack +++ Mariah Carey Faces Copyright Lawsuit Over “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Song +++ DC’s Attorney General Sues RealPage and Landlord Over Rent-Fixing Scheme
SEC Sues SolarWinds For Fraud In Aftermath of Russian Cyberattack The SEC is suing SolarWinds, an IT firm, alleging fraud and inadequate internal controls before a major 2019 cyber-espionage incident orchestrated by Russian hackers. SolarWinds is accused of overhyping cybersecurity and downplaying vulnerabilities. SolarWinds disputes the claims, stating that they have maintained proper cybersecurity controls and will defend their position in court.
Read the full report on CNBC. Read the case SEC v. SolarWinds Corp, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:23-cv-09518
Mariah Carey Faces Copyright Lawsuit Over “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Song Mariah Carey is facing a $20 million copyright infringement lawsuit over her holiday classic song, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Songwriter Andy Stone alleges that Carey’s song is remarkably similar to his 1989 version, predating Carey’s. This is the second lawsuit from Stone, who failed to reach a settlement with Carey. Her attempt to trademark “Queen of Christmas” was also denied. “All I Want for Christmas is You” remains a highly profitable holiday song.
Read the full report on Forbes. Read the case Andy Stone v. Mariah Carey, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 2:23-cv-09216
DC’s Attorney General Sues RealPage and Landlord Over Rent-Fixing Scheme The District of Columbia Attorney General’s office has filed a lawsuit against 14 major landlords and RealPage, a property management software company, alleging collusion to illegally raise rents for over 50,000 apartments by sharing data with the software. This alleged rent-fixing scheme violates D.C.’s Antitrust Act, costing renters millions of dollars. The lawsuit includes publicly traded real estate investment trusts like UDR, AvalonBay Communities, and Equity Residential. RealPage’s software, used by a significant portion of apartments in the district, is at the center of the controversy. The attorney general’s office is seeking financial penalties and the appointment of a corporate monitor to prevent further collusion.
Read the full report on CNBC. Read the case District of Columbia v. RealPage et alia, Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Facebook Parent Meta Faces Permanent Ban In Europe Over Its Advertising Model The European data regulator has extended a ban on “behavioral advertising” on Facebook and Instagram to all 30 countries in the European Union and the European Economic Area. This advertising practice involves targeting users by collecting their data, and it is a setback for Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook and Instagram. Meta could face fines of up to 4% of its global turnover. The European Data Protection Board instructed the Irish data regulator, where Meta’s European headquarters are located, to impose a permanent ban on behavioral advertising. Meta has said it will offer users in the EU and EEA the opportunity to consent and will introduce a subscription model to comply with regulatory requirements. The ban affects around 250 million Facebook and Instagram users in Europe.
Read the full report on Datatilsynet (Norway’s Data Watchdog). Read the full report on EDPB. Read the full report on Reuters.
AI: Artists Lose First Round of Copyright Infringement Case Against AI Art Generators (via The Hollywood Reporter)
AI: Scarlett Johansson hits AI app with legal action for cloning her voice in an ad (via The Verge)
AI: AI Image Generator Can’t Escape Artists’ Copyright Class Action Lawsuit Over AI Training (via Billboard)
Antitrust: FTC’s Lina Khan warns Big Tech over AI (via Stanford)
Privacy: The Tech That’s Radically Reimagining the Public Sphere (via The Atlantic)
Privacy: US hospital groups sue Biden administration to block ban on web trackers (via Reuters)
Privacy: Facebook in Payment Spat Over $725 Million Privacy Settlement (via Bloomberg Law)
In Other News (or publications you should read)
Richard Allen’s regulate.tech blog: How to regulate the internet without breaking it
Benjamin Wittes, Robert Chesney, Jack Goldsmith’s lawfare: Hard national security choices
Young writer and critic Yani debuts with a prose compendium reminiscent of the old adage “poetry is a reflection of our times” or something along those lines.
When I think of American Poetry, I think of Walt Whitman. His work is characterized by its celebration of the human spirit, optimism, and sense of wonder about the world. I think of Frank O’Hara whose work centers around taking delight in the ordinary moments of existence. And, of course, I think of Ralph Waldo Emerson whose work emphasizes the inherent goodness of people and nature, as well as the importance of self-reliance, individualism, and the celebration of the individual spirit.
Yani’s “The Year of Blue Water” resembles a different kind of American Poetry. At times, its prose seems to explore writing elements that are as raw as Charles Bukowski’s. While it is unfiltered it feels rather fragile instead. In other areas, its ideas seem to venture into the style of T.S. Eliot – equally torn between spiritual and moral questions, time and memory. For example:
“My mother tells me something. Has she been lonely? There was so much I couldn’t see as a child. And then it was too much to try and save her, to help her feel better and feel a little less lonely. I felt like I failed at loving her.[…]”
Much of the reflections in this collection are about race, identity, gender, and mental well-being. Unlike poetry from long bygone days, this work demonstrates the seismic shift that we as a people experience in America because of the conveniences modern technology has afforded us. It reminded me of another adage “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times” that originated from “Those Who Remain.” So, if poetry is a reflection of our times then we might have become a little weaker, but I also like to believe that strength comes from taking ownership of our weaknesses, and, by all accounts “The Year of Blue Water” does exactly that.