Creator Economy Law – Issue #34

Breaking down AI, Gannett sues Google, VidCon week, and much 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.

Me at VidCon in 2017

I have major fomo with VidCon taking place this week, but I’ve enjoyed seeing all the coverage of the panels and events. Particularly, I’d recommend Lia Haberman‘s coverage in her ICYMI newsletter.

It has also given me a chance to also look back to 2017 when I spoke on a copyright panel. Watch the video, but note that quite a bit has changed in 5 years!

Here’s what’s been happening in the world of creator economy law.

What You Should Know

Defining Data and Improving Terminology

I co-authored a new article with Elizabeth Rothman that explores the importance of defining data with generative AI systems.

It’s critical that appropriate terminology is used in connection with the data, content, information, and other training materials powering generative AI systems.

I’m thrilled to explore this concept in our latest article: “Defining Data: Improving Terminology Around Generative AI Models” over at IPWatchdog.

We discuss the role of transparency through the use of terminology standards. Plus, we explore existing technical standards that support model provenance and output authenticity

I’d love to hear what you think! Read the article and let us know.

Gannett sues Google over ad tech

Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. and publisher of USA TODAY, sued Google over an alleged online ad monopoly. The complaint was filed in NY federal court on Tuesday.

“Without free and fair competition for digital ad space, publishers cannot invest in their newsrooms,” said Michael Reed, Gannett Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

In the complaint, Gannett alleges that “publishers do not see the growing ad spending because Google and its parent Alphabet unlawfully have acquired and maintain monopolies for the advertising technology tools that publishers and advertisers use to buy and sell online ad space.”

They continue: “Google controls how publishers sell their ad slots, and it forces publishers to sell growing shares of that ad space to Google at depressed prices.”

💥 “With control over the largest ad exchange and ad server — both of which Google acquired rather than developed — Google has carried out a sophisticated, anticompetitive, and deceptive scheme for well over a decade.”

Reed continued: “For more than a hundred years, Gannett has been a tireless advocate for freedom of the press empowering communities to thrive. This lawsuit seeks to ensure we can continue our mission for hundreds of years more.”

The case is Gannett Co., Inc. v. Google LLC (1:23-cv-05177), District Court, S.D.N.Y. The docket is available on CourtListener. Read the press release from Gannett.

🗣 Franklin’s Take: Why now? Of course, I have no additional knowledge. But, my best guess would be a culmination of activity and changes in the industry, including:

  • Moves to first-party data and walled gardens for consumer data and ad tech ecosystems (due to privacy and tracking regulations, industry actions by the likes of Apple, and more)
  • There’s been success in pursuing these cases now. In 2020, State AGs filed a lawsuit against Google for the same allegations of ad tech monopolization; and the DOJ filed an ad tech lawsuit against Google earlier this year. Also, the EU is pursuing the same in their jurisdictions.

So, it seems like it may be good timing with some solid examples of why not only publishers but governmental authorities around the world are having issues with Google’s practices.

BACKGRID fights back against Twitter

Celebrity photography agency BACKGRID is fighting back against Twitter’s motion to dismiss a massive #copyright infringement lawsuit 🚨

“After sending over 6,700 DMCA takedown notices for Backgrid’s works, Twitter failed to take down even one posting or user account.” 😬

In January 2023, Backgrid filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Twitter, Inc. (as well as 1-10 unnamed “Does”) alleging that Twitter failed to: (1) appropriately respond to numerous DMCA takedown requests, violating the repeat infringer requirements under 17 U.S.C. § 512(i); and (2) “expeditiously” remove the content, as required under 17 U.S.C. 512(b)-(d).

On May 12th, Twitter filed a motion to dismiss driving home its argument that as an ISP it was “passively storing material” and that recommendation algorithms support ‘automated functionality.”

Now, Backgrid isn’t having it and has filed an opposition to Twitter’s attempt at having the lawsuit (or portions of it) dismissed. In this new filing, Backgrid takes the opportunity to further solidify its arguments in support of direct and indirect (vicarious and contributory) infringement by Twitter and that the court should consider declaratory relief to Backgrid, but also give Backgrid a chance to amend.

Let’s keep an eye on this one!

GAO Generative AI Report

I’m really excited by all of the reports and overviews of generative AI technologies that are coming out of the U.S. government. Here’s another great one from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA).

The two-page report is short and to the point, broken down into four main sections: (1) an overview of generative AI that includes an awesome cat illustration 😺; (2) opportunities; (3) challenges; and (4) policy contexts and questions.

I find the four policy questions are an excellent starting point for any organization that is exploring and deploying use cases of generative #AI:

❓ What AI guidelines can best ensure generative AI systems are used responsibly, and are generative AI systems following existing guidance?

❓ What standards could be used or developed to evaluate the methods and materials used to train generative AI models and ensure fairness and accuracy of their responses for different use cases?

❓ How can public, private, academic, and nonprofit organizations strengthen their workforce to ensure responsible and accountable use of generative AI technologies?

❓ What privacy laws can be used or developed to protect sensitive information used or collected by generative AI systems, including information provided by minors?

Don’t miss two additional resources on artificial intelligence from the GAO:

👉 Artificial Intelligence: An Accountability Framework for Federal Agencies and Other Entities, GAO-21-519SP.

👉 Artificial Intelligence: Emerging Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for Policy and Research, GAO-18-644T.

Don't Miss


V Pappas is leaving TikTok, the COO announced on Twitter, ending a five-year run with the company.

The same day, TikTok announced it hired Zenit Mucha, a former Disney executive, as the Chief Brand and Communications Officer. 

TikTok may have issues with responses it gave to Congress about data shared with or stored in China. Tubefilter breaks down the issues and newly revealed details from Forbes about personal data from creators and vendors that has allegedly been stored in China.


Mark Zuckerberg and other Meta Platforms, Inc. leaders are asking a Delaware Chancery Court to dismiss the lawsuit filed against them that alleges they ignored warnings about CSAM content on Facebook and Instagram. Bloomberg Law’s Peter Hayes has more.

Meta has been bowing to pressure from Vietnam’s government to censor dissent and force individuals off the platform that were viewed as threats to the regime.

Facebook allegedly made an algorithm change that has resulted in massive drops in traffic to news and media websites.

Google / YouTube

Google Ads goes all in on generative AI tools for marketers, including AI-powered text-to-voice generation for voice-over.

In an effort to comply with the EU Copyright Directive, Google Europe announced deals covering 1,500+ publications across 15 countries. The deals include Extended News Preview (ENP) agreements and in some territories direct agreements with collecting societies.

The Department of Justice is seeking a 70-month prison sentence for Jose Teran, one of the men who helped run MediaMuv, a company that fraudulently swiped more than $23 million from YouTube’s Content ID system by claiming they owned 50,000 tracks.

YouTube unveiled its 2023 Culture & Trends Report: Moving at the speed of culture. The report explores how creators are using tools and technologies to take pop culture in an exciting new direction. You can find the 2022 and 2021 reports here.


Twitter’s new CEO Linda Yaccarino became personally involved in settling the outstanding bill for Google Cloud, according to a Bloomberg report as covered by Engadget.

Twitter is apparently running ads for Disney, Microsoft, and the NBA against neo-Nazi propaganda, as Gizmodo’s Mack DeGeurin reports.

Artificial Intelligence

Do Foundation Model Providers Comply with the Draft EU AI Act? That’s the question as Stanford researchers evaluate foundation model providers like OpenAI and Google for their compliance with proposed EU law on AI. 

Synthetic Music. Microsoft joins the growing list of major tech companies announcing either the open-source release or the development of generative AI music tools. Music Business Worldwide reports that Microsoft is developing an AI rap generator, DeepRapper – trained on a large set of songs ‘crawled’ from the web.

On Tuesday, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County), Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO), and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the National AI Commission Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation to create a national commission to focus on the question of regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI). The bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission will review the United States’ current approach to AI regulation, make recommendations on any new office or governmental structure that may be necessary, and develop a risk-based framework for AI. Read the bill.

Marvel’s latest TV series, Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson, is facing backlash on social media for using generative AI for its opening sequence.

Other News

Patreon announced a host of new features, tools, and experiences for creators and their communities. Creators can now open communities that are free to join and launch paid digital products, while gaining insights and avoiding platform algorithms.

Social Media Platforms Are Hateful. GLAAD‘s annual Social Media Safety Index is out and, unsurprisingly, the platforms aren’t doing as much as they arguably should be doing to protect users. The worst offender is Twitter. Axios provides an excellent rundown on the index.

Jellysmack acquired Rick Lax’s creator development community Network Media LLCAn exclusive announcement via Tubefilter

Harry and Meghan’s influence and ability to launch non-personal media projects is under question in this WSJ piece that explores business life for the couple following the end of their Spotify deal and the pending end to their Netflix deal come 2025.

The RIAA is seeking to shut down Discord community “AI Hub” over claims of copyright infringement in a letter sent to Discord.

There’s been a lot to unpack surrounding the 2019/2020 deals with Taylor Swift’s original master recordings that were once owned by Big Machine Label Group. Check out the latest info drops from Music Business Worldwide. I’ll only say that if history is any indicator, I think there’s even more to this story.

Vice Media, which filed for bankruptcy back in May, might have found a new group of buyers, led by Fortress Investment.

Harvard Business Review published an article that explores five lessons for brands who want to tap into this era of influencers and make authentic connections with Gen Z. “How the Best Brand-Influencer Partnerships Reach Gen Z” by Janet Balis

The Directors Guild of America approved a 3-year deal with Hollywood studios, preventing a strike across all three major unions.

Adobe’s $20 billion acquisition of Figma is under scrutiny from EU regulators.

United Talent Agency (UTA) has acquired media and sports executive search firm James & Co.

Spotify Goes HiFi. Bloomberg reports that Spotify is launching a “Supremium” subscription tier that offers high-resolution audio and expanded access to audiobooks. See coverage from Music Business Worldwide.

In the latest action to challenge alleged digital dark patterns, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued Amazon for enrolling people in its Prime program without the consumer’s consent. The case is FTC v., Inc. (ROSCA). Access the docket on the FTC website.

Are Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk really going to fight it out in a cage match?

Public access to name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals with public universities is limited in a growing number of states. Andrew Coffman shared more in this great post breaking it down.

Microsoft and the FTC are battling it out in federal court this past week over the challenge by the FTC to Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. See more coverage from The Verge.

As I’ve been covering in previous newsletter issues, Canada’s Senate passed the bill on Thursday that requires social media and tech companies, like Google and Meta, to pay media outlets for news content shared on their platforms.

Misuse of Copyright by Police. Caleb Green worked on SB362 in Nevada, which is now law! As Caleb shared on LinkedIn, “The bill, among other things, requires all Nevada law enforcement agencies to adopt policies that would prevent law enforcement from playing copyrighted music so that videos of officers — whether bodycam video or recorded by a witness — won’t be disseminated on social media.”

Kristin Bride, mother of Carson Bride who died by suicide at age 16 after being bullied on anonymous messaging apps commended Snap Inc. (operator of Snapchat app) for making a decision to ban these features on the platform sought by teens. She calls on other tech companies to remove the same inherently dangerous anonymous apps and features.

Dave Ramsey is facing a $150 million lawsuit by listeners of his radio show alleging that his promotion of the Timeshare Exit Team led to them being defrauded.

Data for Research. The UK is being urged by online safety experts to allow for access to social media platforms’s data through amendments that support research efforts.

Wilfred C. over at Fast Company wrote a piece exploring the recently proposed Platform Accountability and Transparency Act that, similar to the UK bill, requires platforms open access to the data they collect for research purposes and the public. Read the bill.

Reddit‘s been having a tough month. Recently, hackers have threatened to leak 80gb of confidential data they say was stolen from the platform.

Learn With Me

Let’s Talk: AI and IP

I’m stoked to be joining a stellar panel and moderator team to discuss IP and AI with the Internet Law & Policy Foundry next week!

We’ll be discussing how existing copyright laws apply to generative AI – from creation of their foundational models to output ownership.

Panelists include Elena Gurevich and Juyoun Han along with the fantastic and brilliant Ekene Chuks-Okeke moderating!

Register to attend virtually.

Nearly Quantum

I love emerging technologies. Over the last few years, I’ve jumped from learning about and exploring XR, VR, and AR, blockchain, NFTs, the metaverse, and generative AI. Now, there’s a new tech to learn!

Microsoft comes in swinging once more with an accessible supercomputing platform and the ability to explore natural processing that’s all around us… nature! Check out the talk at the link.

While this system isn’t exactly quantum computing, Microsoft notes, “it includes tools that will help scientists prepare for a future where a scaled quantum computer could accurately model the most complex molecules”.

Music Video of the Week

This video is sooo good! I love the style and editing. Oh, and the song is fire, too!

“It’s a song about restless hope,” Madeon shared. “It’s about saying the things we wish were true until we start believing them. The video is set between reality (represented by the theatrical setting) and imagination (inspired by the Good Faith Forever show).”

Watch on YouTube or Apple Music.

Editor's Notes

Affiliate Links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I have noted above where links to products on Amazon may earn me a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my work!

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.

Personal Opinions. The opinions and thoughts shared in this newsletter are my own, and not those of my employer or any of the third parties mentioned or linked to in this newsletter. No affiliation or endorsement is implied or otherwise intended with third parties that are referenced or linked.

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