Investments, acquisitions, more investments and more acquisitions make up the bulk of industry news this week, along with another sign of respect from sports-adjacent industries (hello Emmys!):
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of 3D computer graphics to special effects. CGI is used in films, television programs and, most recently, on social media. These images are not limited to modeling and practicing yoga … they even attend red carpet premiers.
Technological advances may make CGI influencers better for business than their human counterparts. There is no risk of human issues or error, such as profanity or criminal history. They allow for more control over an ad campaign in general and, in particular, the CGI’s narrative. This can help mediate the risk of unpredictability that comes with human influencers. Most importantly, CGIs can eliminate certain expenses, such as pricey flights.
CGIs can do everything human influencers can do, but better … or can they?
The Interstate Income Act of 1959, a.k.a. Public Law 86-272, allows a business to enter a state (or send representatives to that state) to solicit orders for goods without being subject to a net income tax. As you might imagine, the advent of the internet created some interesting questions regarding application. The Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) is updating its Public Law 86-272 guidance to address internet activities. Given this guidance was last updated in 2001, few would argue an update isn’t overdue, but those same people might find the potential scope of the new draft guidance surprising. In “Interactive” Website Will Defeat P.L. 86-272 Immunity If the MTC Has Its Way,” our colleague Mike Le examines how the MTC’s draft guidance in its current form would for all intents and purposes eviscerate P.L. 86-272 immunity.
This latest news roundup is just another reminder that, as anchored in technology as esports may be, it ultimately involves many of the same issues faced by more established industries. Whether in regard to funding, corporate and franchising structures, employment contracts, real estate investment, cybersecurity concerns, or the challenge of embedding brand awareness deeper into the public consciousness, the business of esports is just that—business.
It’s difficult finding an industry that doesn’t stand to be transformed in some way by artificial intelligence. Yet no matter how gleaming the potential, some industries are naturally more cautious than others. In her latest post, “Artificial Intelligence: A Boon for Insurance Underwriting?”, Ashley E. Cowgill touches on the insurance industry’s reluctance while pointing to some areas where AI stands to be more quickly embraced.
Companies use a variety of causes of actions to protect their websites from competitors or others wanting to “scrape” data from their site using automated tools. Over the years, legal doctrines such as copyright infringement, misappropriation, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and trespass to chattels have all been asserted, though many of them have limited applicability or are otherwise imperfect options for site owners. One of the most commonly used tools to protect against scraping has been a federal statute: the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The CFAA is a cybersecurity law passed in 1986 as an amendment to the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1894. Originally drafted to address more traditional computer “hacking,” the CFAA prohibits intentional access to a computer without authorization, or in excess of authorization. Due to both the criminal and civil liability that it imposes, the CFAA has been an effective tool to discourage scraping, with website operators arguing that by simply stating on the site that automated scraping is prohibited, any such activity is unauthorized and gives rise to CFAA liability. An ongoing case between data analytics company hiQ Labs Inc. and LinkedIn questions the extent to which companies may invoke the CFAA as it pertains to scraping of this type of data.
Be you a founder, would-be investor or acquirer, correctly valuing the intellectual property of a company is rarely a simple task, but it can be even more challenging when that IP involves artificial intelligence or machine learning. See what our colleague Josh Tucker has to say about the challenges and importance of protecting underlying IP on 7 Mile Advisors’ Deal Talk podcast, “How Patents, AI and Machine Learning Affect Value.”
We’ve previously written about doxing and how it can be used by both vigilante social activists and malicious cyber bullies. Recently, in a first-of-its-kind ruling, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that white supremacists using social media to target and harass American University’s first female African-American student body president were liable to her for over $725,000 in damages.
Pretty much from the introduction of Satoshi’s cleverly constructed currency, industry players and observers alike have waited to see how exactly the increasing population of digital assets would be categorized and regulated. Slotting “disruptive” technologies into existing regulatory regimes is hardly a swift process, but there has been some recent movement on behalf of U.S. regulators and Congress. In “All Eyes Are on Regulation of Digital Assets as Federal Agencies and Lawmakers Seek to Bring Clarity,” colleagues Cassie Lentchner, Daniel N. Budofsky and Aaron R. Hutman break down some of that activity. In the first of three alerts on the matter, they look in particular at the SEC’s recent no-action letter involving tokens released by the gaming company, A Pocketful of Quarters.