Silicon Valley Tech News Roundup – September 24th
Prominent authors sue OpenAI over copyright infringement – 9/20
On Tuesday, the Authors Guild filed a lawsuit against OpenAI in Manhattan federal court over alleged copyright infringement. The authors claim OpenAI used their work to train ChatGPT. The authors include George R. R. Martin, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, and Jonathan Franzen.
The lawsuit alleges OpenAI: “copied Plaintiffs’ works wholesale, without permission or consideration … then fed Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works into their ‘large language models’ or ‘LLMs,’ algorithms designed to output human-seeming text responses to users’ prompts and queries.” Furthermore, the lawsuit states: “These algorithms are at the heart of Defendants’ massive commercial enterprise… And at the heart of these algorithms is systematic theft on a mass scale.”
This is the latest lawsuit against companies behind popular language models and image-generation models. Earlier this year, two authors sued OpenAI for using their books to train language models without their consent.
Hong Kong police investigating JPEX – 9/22
Hong Police is investigating JPEX, a cryptocurrency trading platform after allegations of fraud emerged. Investors complained of losses of $166 million (HK $1.3 billion). Over 2000 people filed complaints, and eleven people (including popular influencers) have been arrested.
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) revealed that JPEX (which is Dubai-based) operated without a license for virtual trading. Hong Kong’s authorities blocked the web access and shut down some of the JPEX’s trading operations. The company claimed it “strived to comply” with the requirement, but its efforts were “dismissed or sidestepped with official rhetoric” by the Securities and Futures Commission. According to the company’s website, it has licenses to trade in the United States, Australia, and Canada.
John Lee (Hong Kong’s Chief Executive) stated: “This incident highlights the importance that when investors want to invest in virtual assets, then they must invest on platforms that are licensed.” He also stated the regulators will “monitor the situation very closely and ensure that investors are sufficiently protected.”
JPEX used influencers to advertise its service and giant billboards to advertise in Hong Kong’s MTR train system. Many investors were inexperienced and believed they would earn high yields.
FTX files a lawsuit against Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents – 9/19
On Monday, the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX filed a lawsuit against Allan Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried (parents of Sam Bankman-Fried). FTX’s legal team filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
According to the legal filing, the bankrupt company alleges the couple “exploited their access and influence within the FTX enterprise to enrich themselves, directly and indirectly, by millions of dollars.” Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that “despite knowing or blatantly ignoring that the FTX Group was insolvent or on the brink of insolvency,” the couple discussed with their son the transfers of $16.4 million property in the Bahamas and $10 million cash gift.
Likewise, the lawsuit claims Allan Joseph Bankman participated in the efforts to cover up a complaint by a whistleblower that threatened to ” expose the FTX Group as a house of cards.” Also, the couple “pushed for tens of millions of dollars in political and charitable contributions, including to Stanford University, which were seemingly designed to boost Bankman’s and Fried’s professional and social status.”
Meanwhile, according to the lawsuit, Barbara Fried encouraged her son to avoid or violate federal campaign finance disclosure rules by “engaging in straw donations or otherwise concealing the FTX Group as the source of the contributions.”
The Bankman’s legal representative responded to the lawsuit by saying the legal filing “is a dangerous attempt to intimidate Joe and Barbara and undermine the jury process just days before their child’s trial begins.” They claim all the allegations are false.
Tim Cook opens New York’s Apple store to celebrate the launch of iPhone 15 – 9/22
On Friday, Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) appeared at the opening of Apple’s store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The event celebrated the official iPhone 15 release, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and Apple Watch Series 9. Cook opened the store and took selfies with the customers.
The company announced the new releases at its annual launch event earlier this month. The preorder for the devices opened on September 15th. Experts are monitoring the new releases closely to determine whether they will be able to rekindle the global smartphone market, which is due to hit a decade-low this year.
According to the analysts at Bank of America, the company extended the ship dates for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models. However, on average, they are lower when compared to last year’s preorder cycle. iPhone 15 lines start at $799. The two new Pro models start at $999 and $1,199 respectively. The new models feature a titanium exterior and a USB-C charging port.