The Three C’s of Data Participation in the Age of A.I.

Eryk Salvaggio, Tech Policy Press:

People are growing ever more frustrated by the intrusiveness of tech. This frustration feeds a cycle of fear that can be quickly dismissed, but doing so strikes me as either foolish or cynical. I am not a lawyer, but lately I have been in a lot of rooms with lawyers discussing people’s rights in the spheres of art and AI. One of the things that has come up recently is the challenge of translating oftentimes unfiltered feelings about AI into a legal framework.


I would never claim to speak to the concerns of everyone I’ve spoken with about AI, but I have made note of a certain set of themes. I understand these as three C’s for data participation: Context, Consent, and Control.

This is a thoughtful essay about what it means for creation to be public, and the imbalanced legal architecture covering appropriation and reuse. I bet many people feel this in their gut — everything is a remix, yet there are vast differences between how intellectual property law deals with individuals compared to businesses.

If I were creating music by hand which gave off the same vibes as another artist, I would be worried about a resulting lawsuit, even if I did not stray into the grey area of sampling. And I would have to obtain everything legally — if I downloaded a song off the back of a truck, so to speak, I would be at risk of yet more legal jeopardy, even if it was for research or commentary. Yet an A.I. company can scrape all the music that has ever been published to the web, and create a paid product that will reproduce any song or artist you might like without credit or compensation; they are arguing this is fair use.

This does not seem like a fair situation, and it is not one that will be remedied by making copyright more powerful. I appreciated Salvaggio’s more careful assessment.