Not a person, not a writer

March 24th, 2023

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In other news… The WGA looks to ban AI-generated works, Apple pays to play in theaters, and Snap launches a new AR business for retailers.

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ENTERTAINMENT 

Writers Guild pushes to ensure AI aren’t writers

The Future. In its contract-renewal talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has laid out that artificial intelligence can’t make intellectual property or be used as literary material. While some argue AI doesn’t seem to be very good at writing scripts anyway, the forward-thinking negotiation may be preparing for a future where it could learn to.

Not a person, not a writerSince AI-generated works don’t meet the criteria for copyright, the WGA is arguing to the studios that…

  • AI can’t be used as source material for a project because that would require AI to be involved in the “chain of title in the intellectual property.” 

  • Studios can’t ask WGA members to adapt material generated by AI as it wouldn’t be considered real literary material.

  • That also means that studios can’t use scripts generated by AI because they can only work under union rules — and AI isn’t a union member.

The move is meant to protect writers’ “working standards including compensation, residuals, separated rights, and credits.” Protecting union writers’ livelihood means protecting against “writers” that aren’t alive.

Inherently plagiarismWhat studios can do is point to AI-generated material as reference or research material, like they would a Wikipedia article. It’s limited to just that because, as the WGA says, “plagiarism is a feature of the AI process.”

For now, the US Copyright Office agrees because machines are just rearranging and synthesizing previously-created works, even when humans are the ones prompting that process. At best, AI is just another tool in a writer’s toolbelt.

ENTERTAINMENT

iMovie // Illustration courtesy of David Vendrell

Apple is set to drop a billion on theatrical features

The Future. Apple wants to become a much bigger player in the theatrical business, putting a billion aside to make movies that will play exclusively in theaters before heading to AppleTV+. Considering Amazon’s similar move and Netflix’s experimentation, putting a movie in theaters may be the best way to market a streaming service, attract top talent, and actually make some money back on blockbusters.

First seedsApple now wants its biggest movies on the biggest screen possible.

  • The tech giant will reportedly spend $1 billion a year to produce and distribute theatrical movies, with the possibility of partnering with rival studios to enter the space.

  • The company plans to put the movies on thousands of screens for at least a month — as opposed to the smaller theatrical runs of movies like CODA and Cherry.

What Apple titles can you expect to see in cinemas? Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon is already a lock for next year. Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle, and Joseph Kosinki’s in-the-works Formula 1 movie are also good bets.

Big screen dreamsThe hope is that by eventizing original movies with a theatrical release, it’ll drive more people to sign up for Apple TV+, which has fallen behind in the streaming wars with an estimated 20-40 million subscribers. It’s a similar move to Amazon, which has also said it would spend a billion on theatrical movies — reportedly 12 to 15 a year. That starts with next month’s Air.

We’ll see if the gambit works, but it's safe to say that theater chains are already very happy.

TOGETHER WITH PUBLIC

Does T-Pain invest in T-Bills?

We aren’t sure. But you can! And investing in T-Bills* can earn you a 4.7% yield.

Public.com, an investing platform that allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, and alternatives, has launched Treasury Accounts, allowing members to invest their cash in U.S. Treasury bills.

Treasury Accounts on Public offer members similar flexibility to a high-yield savings account. Unlike a high-yield savings account, however, Treasury earnings are exempt from state and local taxes, which means you get to keep even more of your dough. 

And (as of March 13, 2023), the 26-week T-Bill offering in Public’s Treasury Accounts is yielding 4.7% when held to maturity. Other benefits of a Treasury Account on Public: 

  • Backed by Uncle Sam. Treasury bills are considered one of the safest investment vehicles because they’re backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.

  • No maximums. Deposit as much as you like to maximize your earning potential

  • All in one place. You can manage your Treasury Account on Public alongside your stocks, ETFs, crypto, and alternative assets.

* Yield is an annualized 26-week T-bill rate (as of 3/13/23) when held to maturity. Rate is gross of fees. T-bills are purchased in increments of $100 par value at a discount; any remaining balance after purchase is held in cash.All U.S. treasury investments and investment advisory services provided by Jiko Securities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA and SIPC. Securities in your account are protected up to $500,000. For details, please see www.sipc.org.Investments in T-bills: Not FDIC Insured - No Bank Guarantee - May Lose Value Banking services provided by Jiko Bank, a division of Mid-Central National Bank. Jiko Group, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. This material is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or investment strategy. See FINRA BrokerCheck, Jiko U.S. Treasuries Risk Disclosures and Jiko Securities Inc. Form CRS.

AR

Snap wants to give brands a leg up in AR

The Future. Snap is bringing the power of AR outside of Snapchat with its new AR Enterprise Services (ARES) business unit, giving retailers the ability to build native AR try-on tools on their own platforms. With Snap also giving creators tools to build AR experiences, the tech company may become the frontrunner in AR by its sheer willingness to make it a priority.

Dressing room appsWith its “Shopping Suite” and “Enterprise Manager Backend” system, Snap’s new ARES arm will act as a service business to help retailers…

  • Build AR try-on experiences for things like clothes, shoes, accessories, and furniture

  • Increase e-commerce sales conversions through AR

  • Reduce returns (better try-on capabilities, less need to return items)

  • Help with product marketing and customer service support

On the customer end, shoppers will be able to do things like upload a photo of themselves to see how clothes would look or try on products in real time through AR. They can also use a 3D Viewer tool to look at all the angles of a product… or the product on themselves.

Snap says it already has over 300 customers, such as Goodr and Gobi Cashmere.

Future Forecast

For those of you who like to stay a step ahead, here are a few things we’re excited about right now: 

  • Market forecasting with A.I. The proliferation of artificial intelligence in our lives is undeniable. We're excited that AI can do more than generate cool art and write content faster. It can also help grow your wealth — whether you're a seasoned pro or a stock market newbie. VantagePoint's Free Live A.I. Training sessions are a great way to learn how to stay days ahead of the market and improve your trading strategies.

  • The first rule of flight club is that you deserve a vacation. With Dollar Flight Club, you’re guaranteed to discover great deals on flights from your home airport for 60-90% off. And we’re super stoked that right now, you can lock in a lifetime membership to Dollar Flight Club Premium for only $129 a year. That’s 93% off. Or, you can sign up for free and still get access to fire deals to help you embark on your next great adventure.

  • Yeastie Boys x Taco Bell Collab. Are these our two favorite things? Absolutely. Will we be at one of the locations this weekend, anxiously awaiting a free breakfast and great puns? You bet. The Yeastie Boys x Taco Bell trucks are gonna be in Venice today, Silverlake and the Arts District on Saturday, and WeHo and Studio City on Sunday, doling out a one-of-a-kind breakfast experience. If you’re in town, don’t sleep (till Brooklyn) on this!

Highlights

The best curated daily stories from around the web

Beijing is a no-go on TikTok sale

It was another bad day for TikTok yesterday. While CEO Shou Zi Chew got hammered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, China’s Commerce Ministry said it would oppose any forced sale of TikTok. That’s because a sale of TikTok would require the export of underlying tech that would need approval from Beijing. Not a good outlook there. That definitely puts TikTok under a lot of pressure after the Biden administration signaled that it had to be sold by ByteDance in order to continue operating in the US.

Read more → wsj

2023 Oscars broke 20 million viewers

The Academy likely popped some more champagne bottles yesterday after ABC (the broadcaster of The Academy Awards) announced that the Oscars brought in a total-week viewership of 19.9 million. That comes after it was viewed live by 18.76 million viewers. Additionally, digital content views of Oscar highlights increased by 359% compared to last year. Big win all around.

Read more → thr

Apple wants more English soccer than just Ted Lasso

Rumor on the pitch is that Apple is considering bidding for the rights to broadcast English soccer. That would include the Premier League (UK rights go up for sale in 2025, US rights go up in 2027) and the English Football League (rights go up for sale in 2024). Having already struck a 10-year deal for Major League Soccer, Apple clearly wants to be the keeper of all things soccer.

Read more → deadline

Sydney Sweeney suits up with Ford

It may come as a surprise for those not paying attention, but actress Sydney Sweeney is a major gearhead, having spent the past few years refurbishing a 1969 red Ford Bronco (chronicling the journey on TikTok). In honor of its completion, she has teamed up with Ford on a new line of workwear dubbed “Syd’s Garage.” Produced by Dickies, the capsule includes beige khakis, a corduroy hat, and a bandana. And if you’re looking to rebuild your own car, Sweeney is also dropping a mechanical repair tutorial titled “Auto 101.”

Read more → vogue

The SEC hits celebrities with crypto charges

Crypto may not be paying the right dividends for celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Jake Paul, and Lil Yachty. They’re part of a group of eight high-profile pitchmen who have been hit with charges by the SEC for violating securities laws. The celebrities are tied to crypto founder Justin Sun, who was behind Tron Foundation Limited, BitTorrent Foundation Ltd., and Rainberry — each celebrity hyped the crypto without disclosing that they were paid to do so. Oops.

Read more → variety

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Today's email was brought to you by David Vendrell.Edited by Nick Comney. Publishing by Sara Kitnick.

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