He’s back… Meta lets Trump come back, Who owns a selfie?, DOJ sues Google (Again) over ad tech, TikTok heats things up while dying(?), and more!
This is Creator Economy Law, a newsletter dedicated to exploring and analyzing the legal issues surrounding the creator economy, creators, and internet platforms. If you enjoy what you’re reading, share with friends, and invite them to subscribe using the button above and share using #CreatorEconomyLaw.
Stuck on what to name your podcast? Don’t worry! Spotify just launched the Podcast Name Generator. Okay okay… so it’s not really a name generator, but it does have some great tips and a cool community poll tool if you are looking to launch your own podcast. Do you have a podcast? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Here’s what’s been happening in the world of Creator Economy Law.
He’s back… Meta gives Trump parental controls and access to Facebook/Instagram
Meta published a press release announcing that in the “coming weeks” Trump will be allowed to access his Facebook and Instagram accounts. However, there will be “new guardrails in place to deter repeat offenses.” But why? “The public should be able to hear what politicians are saying so they can make informed choices,” they highlight in their announcement.
📖 Read: “Ending Suspension of Trump’s Accounts With New Guardrails to Deter Repeat Offenses” via Meta Newsroom
- “BREAKING: Meta lifts Donald Trump’s 2-year suspension on Facebook, Instagram” via NBC News (YouTube)
- “Meta says it will restore Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts” via CNN
Copyright Office Pilot Public Records System Mistakenly Reflects Cancellation of Registration for AI Graphic Novel
The U.S. Copyright Office system inadvertently indicated the Office canceled the registration for a graphic novel made (in part) using Midjourney. It certainly caused a stir, but as the USCO told me: “The Copyright Office has not issued a decision in this matter, and it remains ongoing.”
- “Copyright Office Pilot Public Records System Mistakenly Reflects Cancellation of Registration for AI Graphic Novel” by me via IPWatchdog
- “UPDATED: U.S. Copyright Office Probing Registration for AI-Generated Graphic Novel” via The Fashion Law
🎧 Listen: If you want to hear an audio version, check out when I stopped by Ariel Givner’s #TwitterSpaces yesterday (starting around the 21 min mark). It’s also when I first heard about the USCO’s system error with their records system.
DOJ Sues Google over Digital Ad Tech
The Justice Department, along with the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia, filed a civil antitrust suit against Google for monopolizing multiple digital advertising technology products in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the complaint alleges that Google monopolizes key digital advertising technologies, collectively referred to as the “ad tech stack,” that website publishers depend on to sell ads and that advertisers rely on to buy ads and reach potential customers.
The DOJ and states Attorneys General allege that Google’s anticompetitive conduct has included:
- Acquiring Competitors: Engaging in a pattern of acquisitions to obtain control over key digital advertising tools used by website publishers to sell advertising space;
- Forcing Adoption of Google’s Tools: Locking in website publishers to its newly-acquired tools by restricting its unique, must-have advertiser demand to its ad exchange, and in turn, conditioning effective real-time access to its ad exchange on the use of its publisher ad server;
- Distorting Auction Competition: Limiting real-time bidding on publisher inventory to its ad exchange, and impeding rival ad exchanges’ ability to compete on the same terms as Google’s ad exchange; and
- Auction Manipulation: Manipulating auction mechanics across several of its products to insulate Google from competition, deprive rivals of scale, and halt the rise of rival technologies.
As a result of its illegal monopoly, and by its own estimates, Google pockets on average more than 30% of the advertising dollars that flow through its digital advertising technology products; for some transactions and for certain publishers and advertisers, it takes far more.
In 2020, the Justice Department filed a civil antitrust suit against Google for monopolizing search and search advertising, which are different markets from the digital advertising technology markets at issue in the lawsuit filed today. The Google search litigation is scheduled for trial in September 2023.
- “Justice Department Sues Google for Monopolizing Digital Advertising Technologies” via the DOJ
- “The DOJ sues Google for ad dominance, wants to break company up” by Ron Amadeo via ArsTechnica
- “DOJ files second antitrust suit against Google, seeks to break up its ad business” by Lauren Feiner via CNBC
📖 Watch / Listen:
- “Attorney General Garland holds news conference after DOJ sues Google | full video” via CBS (YouTube)
- “Justice Department files lawsuit against Google over digital advertising” via MSNBC (YouTube)
🗣 Franklin’s Take: Creators should be paying close attention to what happens to Google’s corporate structure for its ad business and whether or not this will result in a spinoff and/or breaking up (which Google already offered to do, but now clearly wasn’t enough). YouTubers already rely on advertising revenues, which are paid out through a Google AdSense account that’s linked to a channel that’s eligible for the YouTube Partner Program. However, it remains to be seen what impact taking some or all of Google’s control over the ad tech ecosystem will have on advertising revenue shares that creators will receive.
USPTO launches IP Identifier
Did you know the USPTO just launched a new tool to help creators identify (and then protect) their IP? Here’s all you need to know about the new tool…
⚙️ The tool is called the Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier.
🧰 There are 2 modules: The Basic IP Identifier; and the Advanced IP Identifier. The Basic IP Identifier module consists of six simple questions that allow users to quickly assess the type of IP they should protect. The Advanced IP Identifier module allows users to learn about their specific type of IP and obtain links to additional resources, including how to file an application for protection. A third module, Managing your IP assets, is currently under development.
❓Why’s the tool needed? Per the USPTO, the tool is a “user-friendly, virtual resource— designed for those who are less familiar with IP—enables users to identify whether they have IP and the IP protections they need to support and advance their business, invention, or brand. The IP Identifier serves as an important foundation for an innovator, entrepreneur, or creator’s IP journey. In addition to the tool helping identify a person’s or company’s intellectual property, it provides easily digestible information on intellectual property – patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.”
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Kathi Vidal announced the launch of the agency’s new tool at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) event in Naples, FL.
👉 The IP Identifier was announced as part of USPTO’s recently-launched Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) initiative, a community-focused, collaborative, and creative initiative to inspire women and tap their potential to meaningfully increase equity, job creation, and economic prosperity.
- Eric Goldman comes in with yet another insightful recap in his blog post “If You Ask Your Friend to Take Your Photo Using Your Camera, Who Owns the Copyright?” (spoiler: it’s still not the monkey)
- “TikTok’s Secret ‘Heating’ Button Can Make Anyone Go Viral” by Emily Baker-White via Forbes. Watch: “TikTok’s Secret ‘Heating’ Button Exposed — Employees Can Make Any Video Go Viral” (YouTube)
- “The ‘Enshittification’ of TikTok” by Cory Doctorow, but also available in his really, really long Twitter thread. Is this the beginning of the end for TikTok?
- The Information published a report on Patreon, written by Paris Martineau, that dives into the allegedly tumultuous history of the company. I would share more… but I don’t have a subscription 😂 ($$)
- LinkedIn brought in a revenue increase of 10% (Y/Y) for Microsoft during its latest quarterly report released on January 24th.
- The NYTimes published an article diving into influencers who get access to luxury residential buildings and often don’t get paid to post pictures. I have yet to really understand why it needed its own article, but maybe I’m missing something or becoming way out of touch with influencer culture. By Debra Kamin ($$)
- I’m so excited about the potential for this new education degree program launched by Hank and John Green, in partnership with ASU, to provide anyone to earn college credit with YouTube courses. “Arizona State University will offer college credit through its ‘Study Hall’ YouTube videos” by Sam Gutelle via Tubefilter
- “TikTok’s remote employees could be fired if they don’t live near their assigned office location ” by Alice Hearing via Fortune
- “India releases guidelines for social media influencers accepting paid promotions” by Jagmeet Singh via TechCrunch. Watch: “Press Conference on “Endorsement Know Hows” via Department of Consumer Affairs, India
- “Twitter officially bans third-party clients after cutting off prominent devs” by Kyle Wiggers via TechCrunch
- “YouTube Music ‘Listening Room’ beta program launching” by Abner Li via 9to5Google
- “”Micro-Influencers” Are Embracing Their Smaller, Engaged Audiences” by Stephanie McNeal via Buzzfeed News
- “Creators report extremely low earnings from TikTok’s ad revenue sharing initiative” by Alexandra Sternlicht via Fortune
- “Major Labels Obtain Stream-Ripping Site Blocking Order in India” by Andy Maxwell via Torrent Freak
- Two is better than one, right? “Netflix now has two CEOs, and neither is founder Reed Hastings” by Peter Kafka via Vox
- Is TikTok now offering direct message (DM) tools? Brendan Gahan shared the announcement from TikTok.
- Twitch‘s open letter to creators details its robust roadmap for 2023: (1) abilities to earn more; (2) better promotion tools; (3) better ad programs; (4) improving Guest Star for collabs; and (5) on-platform tools to engage with views and community; (6) more detailed analytics; (7) messaging and posts feeds for engagement outside of live streams; and (8) discovery improvements to help reach new users / audiences.
- “Creator loyalty neobank Zurp raises $5M, pivots from crypto” by Lucinda Shen via Axios
- Feeling lost on how to take in all the #copyright issues swirling around AI/ML technologies? Here are three buckets I find helpful to view all of this activity within.
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Copyright Alliance and VLAs to Co-Host CCB Panel Titled ‘The Copyright Claims Board—What We Know So Far’
A reminder that on February 1 at 1 p.m. ET, the Copyright Alliance—in partnership with 15 Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) organizations across the U.S.—will host a webinar on the Copyright Claims Board (CCB), titled The Copyright Claims Board—What We Know About the CCB So Far. Panelists will take an in-depth look at how things are working with the CCB seven months after its launch by the U.S. Copyright Office. Speakers include:
- Terrica Carrington, VP, Legal Policy and Copyright Counsel at the Copyright Alliance;
- Maya Burchette, Attorney-Advisor for the CCB at the U.S. Copyright Office; and
- Thomas Maddrey, Chief Legal Officer & Head of National Content and Education at the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).
The panel, which will be moderated by Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, is a must-attend event for anyone who has an interest in the CCB. For additional information and to register, please click here.
Congratulations to Justin Bieber! If you missed the news, Justin closed a deal with Hipgnosis Songs Fund to buy 100% of his publishing rights, along with the royalties for his masters. How much is that worth? Over $200 million!
One of my favorite songs and music videos from Justin is “Beauty and the Beat.” I think the video is a perfect throwback to Justin’s start on YouTube, especially because he shot the music video (in part) using a GoPro Hero 2.
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Not Legal Advice. This newsletter is published solely for educational and entertainment value. Nothing in this newsletter should be considered legal advice. If you need legal assistance or have specific questions, you should consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. I am not your attorney. Do not share any information in the comments you should keep confidential.
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