Will A.I. Eat Hollywood?

Writer, director, and former actress Justine Bateman recently said that, regarding A.I., studios might be overlooking the “largest copyright violation in the history of the United States.”
Writer, director, and former actress Justine Bateman recently said that, regarding A.I., studios might be overlooking the “largest copyright violation in the history of the United States.” Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

It seems like everyone in media and entertainment is unhappy these days with A.I. programs feasting on their work, but few people are actually taking their outrage to court. While there’s a slew of putative class actions in progress (artists, coders, Sarah Silverman, etcetera), these can all be traced to a single San Francisco attorney, Joseph Saveri. Why aren’t movie studios suing? Or record labels? Or book publishers? In fact, when it comes to industry-driven legal actions led by prestigious law firms, there’s really only one that’s notable—Getty Images’ suit against Stability AI, filed in February, which could lay the groundwork for cases to come.

I’ve been investigating the perplexing lack of action, talking with insiders about their hesitancy and how tomorrow’s A.I. threat compares to, say, how Napster and YouTube remade the industry 20 years ago. Part of Hollywood’s reluctance to take on Silicon Valley rests on the hope that A.I. can be harnessed for positive creative purposes (and, yes, profitability). But it’s more than that. For valid reasons, insiders are apprehensive that I.P. lawsuits might not stand up in court.