Robots publish stolen YouTube comments to Kindle store

Robots publish stolen YouTube comments to Kindle store

First, let me be clear…I don’t know how much this is happening. The claims could be vastly exaggerated. 

Second, this is a crime, and could result in federal prosecution.

I debated even reporting this one, but I do think it is interesting. I write about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robots as well as e-publishing and EBRs (E-Book Readers).

You can read about it here, in a statement by the people involved:

Here’s the basic idea, and it will give me an opportunity to explain an important point.

In the United States, copyright is automatic. When you write something (which fits the qualifications for something which can be copyrighted), you automatically have the copyright.

Other people using it without your permission, except under the conditions defined as Fair Use, are committing the criminal act of infringement.

When you see something on the Internet, you can’t just copy and use it for anything you want.

This “art project” use robots (software ones) to scrape comments from YouTube, compile them into books, and publish them to the Kindle store through Kindle Direct Publishing…without human intervention.

The people behind this claim they are attacking the corporations of Amazon and YouTube.

However, they are doing it by infringing on the rights of others.

I don’t want to use an inappropriate comparison…but I will say it is using innocent people as your weapons of choice, without their permission.

I doubt this is going to have a big impact on Amazon (or on YouTube). If we are  talking tens of thousands of books, maybe it would be noticeable. Amazon will have to take the books down, if confronted by the copyright holders…which just isn’t likely to happen.

YouTube won’t be hurt by it…I don’t see any way that this impacts them. I suppose if they also own the comments (that may be a condition of posting), then their copyrights have been violated. Hm…they do have powerful lawyers, if they wanted to pursue this and that is the case.

I’m willing to listen to people argue in favor of this. If they had used software to compose the books, that would have been fine with me…no copyright violation. Amazon doesn’t have to carry any given book, and in fact, my guess is that would probably benefit Amazon. I think some people would buy them.

I’m happy I own

The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed: Computer Prose and Poetry by Racter- The First Book Ever Wrritten by a Computer

by Racter, which is allegedly computer-generated verse. Fascinating, actually.

Yes, this group could have been clever without hurting people.

What do you think? Is there a legitimate point to this “art project”? Do you figure that no one who publishes a comment to YouTube intends to ever enforce their rights? Is the automatic copyright provision outdated?

Feel free to comment on this and let me and my readers know.

Technology Review article

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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3 Responses to “Robots publish stolen YouTube comments to Kindle store”

  1. Steven King (@stevejk) Says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all a-hole-ish and illegal behavior could be excused by saying it is just an “art project”?

    If anyone criticizes an “art project”, they’re just saying that they are ignorant and just “don’t get” the artist’s vision.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Steven!

      I think it would be a difficult defense in court…

      I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood. You can watch it free online…however, as a bit of a warning, it is a horror movie (but not anything like a contemporary slasher movie). It might seem relevant to your conjecture…

  2. See SeaMonkey, do SeaMonkey Says:

    [...] Robots publish stolen YouTube comments to Kindle store (Sometimes, your competition isn’t even human) [...]

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