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Magnani Talks New FTC Comment on Regulating AI Copyright Practices

December 7, 2023

Tom Magnani, head of the firm’s Technology Transactions practice and co-chair of the Technology, Media, & Telecommunications industry group, was featured in the Legaltech News article, “Knock, Knock, It's the FTC—And It Wants to Regulate the Copyright Implications of AI.” The article examines the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent comment, which was submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). The comment stated that the FTC aims to investigate potential cases against AI developers involving use of copyrighted content, and that under Section 5 of the FTC Act, activity that may not constitute copyright infringement might nevertheless constitute unfair competition.

Magnani told Legaltech News that he was surprised by the FTC’s approach. “I don’t think a lot of people thought the FTC was going to start thinking about its role in protecting competition as encompassing the authors and publishers of copyrighted works, but they clearly believe that is within their purview,” he said.

He added that if the FTC continues with its approach, AI developers and companies will face several hurdles. “Even if these [AI] developers get off on copyright claims, the FTC may bring unfair competition claims and say, ‘The use of these tools to compete with the artists whose work was used to train the tool is somehow unfair competition, even if it’s not copyright infringement.’ I think that’s big news.”

Read the full article (subscription required).