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      Texas sues Pfizer with COVID anti-vax argument that is pure stupid

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 4 December - 23:13

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

    Enlarge / Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. (credit: Getty | Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle )

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pfizer last week, claiming the pharmaceutical giant "deceived the public" by "unlawfully misrepresenting" the effectiveness of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and sought to silence critics.

    The lawsuit also blames Pfizer for not ending the pandemic after the vaccine's release in December 2020. "Contrary to Pfizer’s public statements, however, the pandemic did not end; it got worse" in 2021, the complaint reads .

    "We are pursuing justice for the people of Texas, many of whom were coerced by tyrannical vaccine mandates to take a defective product sold by lies," Paxton said in a press release. "The facts are clear. Pfizer did not tell the truth about their COVID-19 vaccines."

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      Judge issues legal permaban, $500K judgment against serial Destiny 2 cheater

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September, 2023 - 15:57 · 1 minute

    Artist's conception of the judge getting ready to legally blast the defendant into <em>Destiny 2</em>'s version of non-existence.

    Enlarge / Artist's conception of the judge getting ready to legally blast the defendant into Destiny 2 's version of non-existence. (credit: Bungie)

    Just over a year ago, Bungie went to court to try to stop a serial Destiny 2 cheater who had evaded multiple account bans and started publicly threatening Bungie employees. Now, that player has been ordered to pay $500,000 in copyright-based damages and cannot buy, play, or stream Bungie games in the future.

    In a consent judgment that has apparently been agreed to by both ides of the lawsuit (as dug up by TorrentFreak ), district court judge Richard Jones agrees with Bungie's claim that defendant Luca Leone's use of cheat software constitutes "copyright infringement" of Destiny 2 . Specifically, the cheat software's "graphical overlay" and use of "inject[ed] code" creates an "unauthorized derivative work" that violates federal copyright law. The judgment imposes damages of $150,000 for violations on each of two infringed works (seemingly encompassing Destiny 2 and its expansions)

    Leone also created new accounts to get around multiple ban attempts by Bungie and tried to "opt out" of the game's license agreement as a minor in an attempt to do a legal end run around Bungie's multiple account bans. This made each of Leone's subsequent Destiny 2 logins unlicensed violation of Bungie's copyright, according to the judge's order, which tacks on $2,000 in damages for each of "at least 100" such logins.

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      Conservative judges revive case on FDA’s “you are not a horse” ivermectin posts

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 September, 2023 - 22:54

    Tablets of ivermectin.

    Enlarge / Tablets of ivermectin. (credit: Getty | Nurphoto )

    A panel of conservative judges has revived a lawsuit over the Food and Drug Administration's statements about the anti-parasitic and de-worming drug ivermectin—statements meant to clarify that the drug is not effective against COVID-19 and that formulations for animals, including livestock, are not safe for use in humans .

    After the FDA received reports of people being hospitalized from taking livestock ivermectin , one of the agency's particularly viral posts began: " You are not a horse ."

    The lawsuit over the posts comes from three doctors, all of whom have faced charges and/or discipline from their respective state medical boards and employers over the ivermectin prescribing. The disgraced trio argue that the FDA's statements interfered with their ability to prescribe the antiparasitic drug to COVID-19 patients—including some patients the doctors had never actually examined , according to allegations by state medical boards.

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      Roblox facilitates “illegal gambling” for minors, according to new lawsuit

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 21 August, 2023 - 12:41 · 1 minute

    <em>Roblox</em> helps support sites like RBLXWild in letting minors gamble using their Robux balances, according to a new lawsuit.

    Enlarge / Roblox helps support sites like RBLXWild in letting minors gamble using their Robux balances, according to a new lawsuit.

    A new proposed class-action lawsuit (as noticed by Bloomberg Law ) accuses user-generated "metaverse" company Roblox of profiting from and helping to power third-party websites that use the platform's Robux currency for unregulated gambling activities. In doing so, the lawsuit says Roblox is effectively "work[ing] with and facilitat[ing] the Gambling Website Defendants... to offer illegal gambling opportunities to minor users."

    The three gambling website companies named in the lawsuit—Satozuki, Studs Entertainment, and RBLXWild Entertainment—allow users to connect a Roblox account and convert an existing balance of Robux virtual currency into credits on the gambling site. Those credits act like virtual casino chips that can be used for simple wagers on those sites, ranging from Blackjack to "coin flip" games.

    If a player wins, they can transfer their winnings back to the Roblox platform in the form of Robux. The gambling sites use fake purchases of worthless "dummy items" to facilitate these Robux transfers, according to the lawsuit, and Roblox takes a 30 percent transaction fee both when players "cash in" and "cash out" from the gambling sites. If the player loses, the transferred Robux are retained by the gambling website through a "stock" account on the Roblox platform.

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      Sarah Silverman sues OpenAI, Meta for being “industrial-strength plagiarists”

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 10 July, 2023 - 19:42 · 6 minutes

    Comedian and author Sarah Silverman.

    Enlarge / Comedian and author Sarah Silverman. (credit: Jason Kempin / Staff | Getty Images North America )

    On Friday, the Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed US federal class-action lawsuits on behalf of Sarah Silverman and other authors against OpenAI and Meta, accusing the companies of illegally using copyrighted material to train AI language models such as ChatGPT and LLaMA .

    Other authors represented include Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey, and an earlier class-action lawsuit filed by the same firm on June 28 included authors Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad. Each lawsuit alleges violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, unfair competition laws, and negligence.

    The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is no stranger to press-friendly legal action against generative AI. In November 2022, the same firm filed suit over GitHub Copilot for alleged copyright violations. In January 2023, the same legal group repeated that formula with a class-action lawsuit against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt over AI image generators. The GitHub lawsuit is currently on path to trial, according to lawyer Matthew Butterick. Procedural maneuvering in the Stable Diffusion lawsuit is still underway with no clear outcome yet.

    In a press release last month, the law firm described ChatGPT and LLaMA as "industrial-strength plagiarists that violate the rights of book authors." Authors and publishers have been reaching out to the law firm since March 2023, lawyers Joseph Saveri and Butterick wrote, because authors "are concerned" about these AI tools' "uncanny ability to generate text similar to that found in copyrighted textual materials, including thousands of books."

    The most recent lawsuits from Silverman, Golden, and Kadrey were filed in a US district court in San Francisco. Authors have demanded jury trials in each case and are seeking permanent injunctive relief that could force Meta and OpenAI to make changes to their AI tools.

    Meta declined Ars' request to comment. OpenAI did not immediately respond to Ars' request to comment.

    A spokesperson for the Saveri Law Firm sent Ars a statement, saying, "If this alleged behavior is allowed to continue, these models will eventually replace the authors whose stolen works power these AI products with whom they are competing. This novel suit represents a larger fight for preserving ownership rights for all artists and other creators."

    Accused of using “flagrantly illegal” data sets

    Neither Meta nor OpenAI has fully disclosed what's in the data sets used to train LLaMA and ChatGPT. But lawyers for authors suing say they have deduced the likely data sources from clues in statements and papers released by the companies or related researchers. Authors have accused both OpenAI and Meta of using training data sets that contained copyrighted materials distributed without authors' or publishers' consent, including by downloading works from some of the largest e-book pirate sites.

    In the OpenAI lawsuit , authors alleged that based on OpenAI disclosures, ChatGPT appeared to have been trained on 294,000 books allegedly downloaded from "notorious 'shadow library' websites like Library Genesis (aka LibGen), Z-Library (aka Bok), Sci-Hub, and Bibliotik." Meta has disclosed that LLaMA was trained on part of a data set called ThePile, which the other lawsuit alleged includes “all of Bibliotik,” and amounts to 196,640 books.

    On top of allegedly accessing copyrighted works through shadow libraries, OpenAI is also accused of using a "controversial data set" called BookCorpus.

    BookCorpus, the OpenAI lawsuit said, "was assembled in 2015 by a team of AI researchers for the purpose of training language models." This research team allegedly "copied the books from a website called Smashwords that hosts self-published novels, that are available to readers at no cost." These novels, however, are still under copyright and allegedly "were copied into the BookCorpus data set without consent, credit, or compensation to the authors."

    Ars could not immediately reach the BookCorpus researchers or Smashwords for comment. [ Update: Dan Wood, COO of Draft2Digital—which acquired Smashwords in March 2022—told Ars that the Smashwords  "store site lists close to 800,000 titles for sale," with "about 100,000" currently priced at free.

    "Typically, the free book will be the first of a series," Wood said. "Some authors will keep these titles free indefinitely, and some will run limited promotions where they offer the book for free. From what we understand of the BookCorpus data set, approximately 7,185 unique titles that were priced free at the time were scraped without the knowledge or permission of Smashwords or its authors." It wasn't until March 2023 when Draft2Digital "first became aware of the scraped books being used for commercial purposes and redistributed, which is a clear violation of Smashwords’ terms of service," Wood said.

    "Every author, whether they have an internationally recognizable name or have just published their first book, deserve to have their copyright protected," Wood told Ars. "They also should have the confidence that the publishing service they entrust their work with will protect it. To that end, we are working diligently with our lawyers to fully understand the issues—including who took the data and where it was distributed—and to devise a strategy to ensure our authors’ rights are enforced. We are watching the current cases being brought against OpenAI and Meta very closely."]

    “Numerous questions of law” raised

    Authors claim that by utilizing "flagrantly illegal" data sets, OpenAI allegedly infringed copyrights of Silverman's book The Bedwetter , Golden’s Ararat , and Kadrey’s Sandman Slime . And Meta allegedly infringed copyrights of the same three books, as well as "several" other titles from Golden and Kadrey.

    It seems obvious to authors that their books were used to train ChatGPT and LLaMA because the tools "can accurately summarize a certain copyrighted book." Although sometimes ChatGPT gets some details wrong, its summaries are otherwise very accurate, and this suggests that "ChatGPT retains knowledge of particular works in the training data set and is able to output similar textual content," the authors alleged.

    It also seems obvious to authors that OpenAI and Meta knew that their models were "ingesting" copyrighted materials because all the copyright-management information (CMI) appears to have been "intentionally removed," authors alleged. That means that ChatGPT never responds to a request for a summary by citing who has the copyright, allowing OpenAI to "unfairly profit from and take credit for developing a commercial product based on unattributed reproductions of those stolen writing and ideas."

    "OpenAI knew or had reasonable grounds to know that this removal of CMI would facilitate copyright infringement by concealing the fact that every output from the OpenAI Language Models is an infringing derivative work, synthesized entirely from expressive information found in the training data," the OpenAI complaint said.

    Among "numerous questions of law" raised in these complaints was a particularly prickly question: Is ChatGPT or LLaMA itself an infringing derivative work based on perhaps thousands of authors' works?

    Authors are already upset that companies seem to be unfairly profiting off their copyrighted materials, and the Meta lawsuit noted that any unfair profits currently gained could further balloon, as "Meta plans to make the next version of LLaMA commercially available." In addition to other damages, the authors are asking for restitution of alleged profits lost.

    "Much of the material in the training datasets used by OpenAI and Meta comes from copyrighted works—including books written by plain­tiffs—that were copied by OpenAI and Meta without consent, without credit, and without compensation," Saveri and Butterick wrote in their press release.

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      Judge refuses gamers’ attempts to immediately halt Microsoft/Activision merger

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 22 May, 2023 - 18:37 · 1 minute

    A group of PlayStation owners worries that an image like this is coming in their near future...

    Enlarge / A group of PlayStation owners worries that an image like this is coming in their near future...

    A federal judge has refused to grant a requested preliminary injunction that would have stopped Microsoft's continuing effort to buy Activision Blizzard . But as the private case moves forward, the judge in the case writes that the plaintiffs have "plausibly" argued that they might be adversely affected by the deal's anti-competitive effects.

    The so-called "gamers' lawsuit" against the Microsoft/Activision deal was initially filed by a group of 10 PlayStation Call of Duty players in December, alleging that the deal could lead to increased prices and/or decreased quality or availability for the franchise on their console of choice. While the case was dismissed in March , the plaintiffs offered an amended complaint last month , laying out more precisely the harm they believe they could suffer after a merger.

    Regarding those amended claims, District Court Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said in a Friday ruling that, while it was too early to fully rule on the merits of the case, the plaintiffs "plausibly attest to their loyalty to the Call of Duty franchise and thus that each will purchase a different console or subscription service, or pay an inflated price, if needed to continue to play Call of Duty, especially if needed to play with their friends." That's a turnaround from the initial March dismissal, where Corley wrote that the plaintiffs didn't "plausibly allege" that the merger "creates a reasonable probability of anticompetitive effects in any relevant market."

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      Judge’s order requiring hospital to give COVID patient ivermectin called “unethical”

      Tim De Chant · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 30 August, 2021 - 21:42

    Judge’s order requiring hospital to give COVID patient ivermectin called “unethical”

    Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

    A county judge in Ohio has ordered a hospital in Cincinnati to administer ivermectin to an intensive care patient, a move raises questions about the role of the courts in the medical system.

    “It is absurd that this order was issued,” Arthur Caplan , professor of bioethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told Ars. “If I were these doctors, I simply wouldn’t do it.”

    The order was spurred by a lawsuit filed by Julie Smith, whose 51-year-old husband, Jeffrey, is being treated in West Chester Hospital for COVID-19. The lawsuit was first reported by the Ohio Capital Journal . Jeffrey has been in the hospital since July 15, and as his condition declined, his wife Julie began investigating alternative treatments.

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      Snap cuts off Yolo, LMK anonymous messaging apps after lawsuit over teen’s death

      Tim De Chant · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 May, 2021 - 16:23

    Snap cuts off Yolo, LMK anonymous messaging apps after lawsuit over teen’s death

    Enlarge (credit: stockcam / Getty)

    Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, yesterday suspended two apps that allowed users to send anonymous messages to other users on the platform. The move came in response to a lawsuit filed Monday against Snap and the two messaging apps.

    The lawsuit seeks class-action status to represent all 92 million Snapchat users, and it demands that Snap ban both Yolo and LMK from its app store. The developers of both apps, the suit alleges, did not implement adequate safeguards against harassing and bullying behavior.

    The suit was brought by Kristin Bride, the mother of Carson Bride, a 16-year-old who suffered from cyberbullying on the Yolo and LMK apps. Over half the messages he received on Yolo were “meant to humiliate him, often involving sexually explicit and disturbing content,” according to the lawsuit. After a particularly personal string of insults, 16-year-old Carson searched in vain for how to reveal the identity of his bullies. Just over two weeks later, he took his own life. His last search was “reveal Yolo username online.”

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