Start Up No.2009: US Supreme Court rules on copyright and Section 230, ChatGPT hits the App Store, an AR laptop?, and more

What if you took all the separate streaming services, combined them into a single bundle and charged one price for them? Crazy idea, right? CC-licensed photo by Tatsuo Yamashita on Flickr.

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A selection of 10 links for you. Well, why not? I’m @charlesarthur on Twitter. On Mastodon: Observations and links welcome.

Supreme Court rules Andy Warhol’s Prince art is copyright infringement • PetaPixel

Jaron Schneider:


The United States Supreme Court has released its opinion on The Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith case, finding in favor of Lynn Goldsmith and stating that Warhol’s use of her photo was not fair use.

For those unfamiliar, the Warhol v. Goldsmith case has been ongoing for several years and involves photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s photo of Prince and Andy Warhol’s use of that photo which his Foundation argues was fair use.

The details of the case to this point can be read in prior coverage, but in summary, Goldsmith had been victorious in the most recent court’s decision leading up to this point. The Andy Warhol Foundation had appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, who has affirmed the lower court’s decision and sealed Goldsmith’s win.

In an 87-page, seven-to-two opinion written by Justice Sotomayor, the Supreme Court has ruled that Warhol’s use of Goldsmith’s Prince photo was not transformative enough to warrant fair use and was instead a violation of her copyright. Justices Roberts and Kagan dissented.

“Although new expression, meaning, or message may be relevant to whether a copying use has a sufficiently distinct purpose or character, it is not, without more, dispositive of the first factor,” the court holds.


Photographers are delighted. This is the case that The Atlantic said “could wreck American art” back in October when it reached the Supreme Court. We’ll see how that plays out.
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Twitter, Google win big at Supreme Court • POLITICO

Josh Gerstein and Rebecca Kern:


The Supreme Court has passed up a closely watched opportunity to clarify the scope of the federal liability shield known as Section 230 that protects internet companies from most legal claims over content posted by users.

In a pair of rulings Thursday morning, the justices rejected lawsuits seeking to hold tech giants like Google and Twitter liable for terrorism-promoting content on their platforms. And the court nixed the suits without issuing any sweeping pronouncements on the immunity provision that has come under increasing fire from Republicans and Democrats.

The cases mark the first time the high court dealt with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the 1996 law that broadly protects tech companies from being sued over hosting most third-party content on their websites and decisions to remove violative material.

The two decisions mark a major win for the tech industry, which has argued that narrowing Section 230 could be disastrous for the internet if platforms could be sued over content-moderation decisions. But the resolution leaves the door open to future showdowns —- potentially in Congress — over the breadth of the legal protection the internet firms enjoy.

…In the first case, Twitter v. Taamneh, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected a lawsuit seeking to hold Twitter, Google and Facebook responsible for an ISIS nightclub attack in Turkey in 2017 due to recruiting videos posted on their sites.

Then, the justices used the ruling in that case to wriggle out of a clear-cut decision in Gonzalez v. Google, a lawsuit from the family of a California college student who was killed in a 2015 terrorist attack in Paris. The family alleged that Google’s YouTube algorithms promoted ISIS recruitment videos and thereby contributed to the attack.

The high court disposed of the Google case in a three-page, unsigned opinion that said the Section 230 issues were not ripe for decision.


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Replication of room-temperature superconductor claims fails to show superconductivity •

Bob Yirka:


A team of physicists at Nanjing University, attempting to replicate the superconductivity results from an experiment conducted by a team at the University of Rochester, produced the desired material but also found that it was not superconductive. In their study, reported in the journal Nature, the group replicated the work by the prior team and tested the resulting material.

In 2020, a team of engineers and physicists at the University of Rochester in New York, led by mechanical engineer Ranga Dias, published a paper in the journal Nature claiming to have created a compound that, when exposed to extreme pressure, became a superconductor at room temperature. Soon thereafter, Nature retracted the paper due to the use of undocumented data by the research team.

More recently, the same team published another paper in Nature claiming to have created a different material that became superconductive at room temperature—at much lower pressure than the material described in their first paper. In this new effort, the team in China duplicated the work, hoping to find the same results.


🎼 Nuclear fusion and quantum computers, 🎶 room temp-er-ature superconductors, bitcoin as currency, 🎵 a universe of strings, these are a few quite impossible things.
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What if San Francisco never pulls out of its ‘doom loop’? • Financial Times

Tabby Kinder and George Hammond:


Tech companies were among the most enthusiastic in embracing remote work during the pandemic, banking a tax saving and allowing employees to avoid San Francisco’s high rents. The reduction in demand has only been compounded by tech lay-offs. “The irony for the city is that the economy that grew up as a response to the measures we adopted in 2009 to pull us out of the recession focused on a single industry,” says Wade Rose, the president of Advance SF, which lobbies on behalf of the city’s business community. “Then the pandemic hits, and it turns out that the economic sector we had built up was the most amenable to switching where their employees worked from.”

Salesforce Tower isn’t the only beacon of hope turned mausoleum. Opposite the Financial Times’s office on California Street, a mostly empty office block that was valued at $300m in 2019 just changed hands for as little as $60m. The sale could trigger the repricing of workplaces across the city. Thirty% of commercial real estate is now empty, a larger portion than New York, Miami and Detroit. Areas surrounding “zombie offices” are a growing hollow at the heart of the city. Around the corner, the spectre of a branch of Silicon Valley Bank, which collapsed in March, is another reminder of a fragile financial infrastructure.

What happens downtown has an outsized significance. San Francisco anchors a wider Bay Area economy which thrived during boom times, and 80% of the city’s $250bn annual GDP is produced by office-based industries mostly centred in the financial district. Mayor Breed has put forward a plan to clean up and reinvigorate downtown, but urban renewal projects of the scale required tend to take decades, rather than years. Until then, San Francisco may simply feel emptier than before. At Embarcadero station, which delivers workers to the financial district for example, passenger numbers are down 70% since 2019. 

…In just one week of reporting this story, one of us was the victim of three separate crimes: their handbag was stolen; they were harassed by a man on a Bart train who cornered them in their seat; and a man tried to break into their home. This is not normal.


Guessing it wasn’t Hammond who was the victim. San Francisco has a problem, and not a lot of time to fix it once remote working becomes embedded.

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David Zaslav open to leveraging Max in bundle with other streamers: ‘it would be great for consumers’ • The Wrap

Lucas Manfredi:


Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav warned on Thursday that consolidation in the streaming is coming – but rather than through mergers and acquisitions, he sees it coming in the form of aggregation.

“One of the challenges in the business right now is the difficulty for a consumer in aggregating the content that they love, entertainment, nonfiction, content, sports content. Everyone’s googling where is it? How do I get it?” Zaslav said during MoffettNathanson’s inaugural Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. “It’s not rational and it’s not really sustainable because it’s not a good consumer experience, not sustainable because there are a lot of people in this business that are just losing too much money.”

While he acknowledged that consolidation through M&A is “one answer,” he noted that it is “not easy” from a regulatory perspective.

“It takes time. This industry is changing so quickly. Saying I’m gonna take two years and then I’m gonna emerge with a new set of assets for two-and-a-half years, who knows what the world looks like,” he said. “So I think there’s a lot of risk from a regulatory or even a time [perspective], but there should be a consolidation. And I think it’s more likely to have to happen in the repackaging and marketing of products together.


Hmm, you could collect all those streaming services together in a single bundle, offer some sort of discount compared to the sum of the individual services, and think of a snappy name for them – perhaps something that indicates how they come into the house, such as “cable”?
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OpenAI ChatGPT on the App Store


Introducing ChatGPT for iOS: OpenAI’s latest advancements at your fingertips.

This official app is free (no ads!), syncs your history across devices, and brings you the newest model improvements from OpenAI.

With ChatGPT in your pocket, you’ll find:

· Instant answers
· Tailored advice
· Creative inspiration
· Professional input
· Personalized learning

Join millions of users and try out the app that’s been captivating the world. Download ChatGPT today.


It’s official. Now everyone’s potentially going to have a chatbot. Includes speech-to-text so you can dictate a question.
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Spacetop hands-on: we tried the world’s first augmented reality laptop • The Verge

Monica Chin:


The Spacetop doesn’t have a screen. In total, it is a screen-less keyboard deck with a pair of AR glasses (which are customized NReal glasses) hardwired to it. Put those on, and you will see your desktop projected into the air before you. You operate it — move windows, play videos, type messages, etc. — with the keys and touchpad, as you would a physical screen. Sightful claims that the Spacetop is actually a “100-inch laptop.” It’s getting that from the fact that if you were to treat the image the user sees as a projection on a surface in front of them, that projection would have a 100in diagonal. I suppose that’s one way to look at it (though, by that logic, a projector can also be called a 120in TV or whatever).

This, in the opinion of Sightful CEO Tamir Berliner, is the obvious future of computing. There will come a time when all electronic tasks, from web design to AAA gaming, are done while squinting through AR glasses. “We are looking forward to the day when we forget about the laptops we have today,” Berliner told me, mirroring predictions that Mark Zuckerberg has been making for years.

My question, naturally, was: why? Why do my activities in the air, when I can do them just fine on a screen?

“If you go to Best Buy tomorrow and you see a 13-inch laptop, and a 15in laptop, and a 100in laptop that’s the size of a 13in, which would you buy?” Berliner asked me. Probably the 13in, I admitted; I liked portability but didn’t love the idea of sitting around in AR glasses all day. “You’re wearing glasses already,” Berliner said, pointing at my face. Fair enough, but my glasses were hand-selected and custom-molded to my head shape, and I couldn’t say the same for Sightful’s hefty goggles.

…I don’t feel that the 100in screen accolade is quite accurate — the Spacetop gives you no peripheral vision. Everything outside of your immediate view is dark. Sure, the Spacetop can technically display many, many more windows than you might be able to cram onto a 13in, but you can still only see a few at a time (also the case on a 13in).

And performance, overall, was a bit choppy.


Uh-oh. I still hold onto a little bit of hope that Apple won’t release a headset at WWDC, and we can all let this horrible dream die now, rather than having to stuff landfill with more useless goggles. The 3D cinema craze was bad enough.

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Post Office bosses blocked inquiry into faulty Horizon IT system in 2010 • The Times

Tom Witherow:


The Post Office boss in charge of criminal prosecutions blocked a full investigation into the company’s faulty Horizon IT system because “such an investigation will be disclosable“ in trials, an inquiry was told.

Emails shown to the public inquiry into the Horizon accounting scandal showed that Post Office executives were planning an internal investigation of its IT system in early 2010, and intended to bring in external auditors from Ernst & Young to verify it.

But when Robert Wilson, the head of criminal law, heard about the plans he opposed them, leading bosses instead to order a one-sided report that would only “confirm our belief in the robustness” of the IT system.

In an email to colleagues, Wilson expressed anger that he was not notified about the investigation, telling colleagues he was “staggered” he was not included in the meeting, “given the nature of the discussions that took place”.

Months later Seema Misra was sent to jail when she was eight weeks pregnant, leading a senior Post Office lawyer to celebrate the fact they had “destroyed the attack on the Horizon system”. Criminal prosecutions continued for another five years, and by 2015 as many as 700 had been wrongly convicted.

Yesterday, in closing statements for the third phase of the public inquiry, counsel for postmasters said the evidence heard in recent weeks showed senior Post Office staff knew there were bugs, but refused to investigate them. The Post Office denies its staff were aware of systemic faults and claims Fujitsu hid errors in its Horizon system.


So there’s a certain amount of fingerpointing going on, but it’s evident from this email alone that the intent was not to get to the bottom of what was going on, but to assume that the computer was infallible. This continues to be one of the biggest scandals of “just following the computer’s orders” ever in which scores of innocent people were accused and imprisoned.

Imagine if it were ChatGPT that had declared the sub-postmasters guilty. Who would question that? How would you investigate it?
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Global chipmakers to expand in Japan as tech decoupling accelerates • Financial Times

Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki:


Seven of the world’s largest semiconductor makers have set out plans to increase manufacturing and deepen tech partnerships in Japan as western allies step up efforts to reshape the global chip supply chain amid rising tensions with China.

At an unprecedented meeting in Tokyo with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, the heads of chipmakers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and Intel and Micron of the US described plans that could transform Japan’s prospects of re-emerging as a semiconductor powerhouse.

Micron said it expected to invest up to ¥500bn ($3.7bn), including Japanese state subsidies, to build a plant to produce cutting-edge extreme ultraviolet lithography technology in Hiroshima.

Samsung is also discussing setting up a ¥30bn research and development centre in Yokohama with pilot lines for semiconductor devices. Japanese government officials said the move followed a thaw in relations between Tokyo and Seoul. Samsung was not available for comment.

“Japan’s role has risen as like-minded nations work to strengthen their supply chains,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, following the meeting with chip chief executives. “We reconfirmed the strong potential for Japan’s semiconductor industry.”

The announcement comes as Japan prepares to host a G7 summit where economic security will be a focus of talks. Semiconductors in particular have emerged as an area of intense focus for the US and allies.


One gets the feeling that an invasion of Taiwan is being taken as a certainty, and the only question is when. Of course Japan won’t mind becoming a world powerhouse in chipmaking again.
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The rubbishscapes of Essex: why our buried trash is back to haunt us • The Guardian

Tim Burrows:


Cliff [Hatton, Burrows’s father-in-law] said one of the gravel pits, known as Hamble Lane, had, like an increasing number of places in south Essex, become an established rubbish tip by the time they started fishing there. But, while fishing at night, he noticed something odd. “There was more activity at the site during the hours of darkness than there was during the hours of light, even though everybody should by law have been gone,” Cliff said. Lorries would come through the gates “nose-to-tail” with sometimes up to 14 in a convoy, all through the night until sunrise. It was only later he realised the extent of the industrial chemicals that were being dumped there under cover of darkness.

One day in 1967, an elderly neighbour had asked Cliff to bring back some sticks from the Hamble Lane dump that he could use in his rose garden. Cliff remembered his errand when he was on the way back from fishing, after the sun had gone down. He climbed on top of a pile of wood to search for sticks, and then jumped off. “I just leapt into the darkness thinking I was going to land on solid ground,” said Cliff. Instead, he found himself up to his waist in slime. After a few moments, his skin began to burn. He had jumped into a caustic slurry, dumped there by a pharmaceutical company based in Dagenham. “That led to me spending a week or so in hospital and many, many weeks after that invalided indoors with great burns to my legs and on my face,” said Cliff.

Cliff’s parents, knowing their place, never sought compensation. Once recovered enough to return to the pits, Cliff found two half-empty drums of granulated cyanide floating in one of them. Another time, he and his brother came across a mountain of glass vials, and suspected that barbiturates had been dumped a few yards from a school fence. “We took some samples to the local police station, and showed them these dangerous drugs and mentioned they were within yards of the school playing field, and the only question we were asked was: ‘What were you doing over there?’ They were more worried about the fact that we were trespassing.”

Thurrock council took no action over the scandalous pollution that burned him and destroyed the habitat he so cherished, leaving Cliff with “a lifelong grudge against authority”.


This is only the curtain-raiser for the modern day problem that Burrows digs into (ahem). Like the future, our dystopian past is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed, but concentrated in rubbish tips that are now escaping their previous bounds.
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• Why do social networks drive us a little mad?
• Why does angry content seem to dominate what we see?
• How much of a role do algorithms play in affecting what we see and do online?
• What can we do about it?
• Did Facebook have any inkling of what was coming in Myanmar in 2016?

Read Social Warming, my latest book, and find answers – and more.

Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified

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