Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Volume 13  | Spring 2018  | Number 3

How Machines Learn: Where do Companies get Data for Machine Learning and What Licenses do They Need?

Rachel Wilka, Rachel Landy, and Scott A. McKinney
13 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  217

7/15/2018

Constitutional & Regulatory

 

Machine learning services ingest customer data in order to provide refined, customized services. Machine learning algorithms are increasingly prominent in multiple sectors within the software-as-a-service industry including online advertising, health diagnostics, and travel. However, very little has been written on the rights a company utilizing machine learning needs to obtain in order to use customer data to improve its own products or services.

Machine learning encompasses multiple types of data use and analysis, including (a) supervised machine learning algorithms, which take specific data provided in a tagged and classified format to deliver specific predictable output; and (b) unsupervised machine learning algorithms, where untagged data is processed in order to look for patterns and correlations without a specified output.

This Article introduces the reader to the types of data use involved in various machine learning models, the level of data retention normally required for each model, and the risks of using personal information or re-identifiable data in connection with machine learning. The paper also discusses the type of license a commercial provider and consumer would need to enter into for various types of machine learning software. Finally, the paper proposes best practices for ensuring adequate rights are obtained through legal agreements so that machines may self-improve and innovate.

View full article

visual separator

Fair Use, Fair Play: Video Game Performances and “Let’s Plays” as Transformative Use

Dan Hagen
13 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  245

7/15/2018

Constitutional & Regulatory

With the advent of social video upload sites like YouTube, what constitutes fair use has become a hotly debated and often litigated subject. Major content rights holders in the movie and music industry assert ownership rights of content on video upload platforms, and the application of the fair use doctrine to such content is largely unclear. Amid these disputes over what constitutes fair use, new genres of digital content have arrived in the form of “Let’s Play” videos and other related media. In particular, “Let’s Plays”—videos in which prominent gamers play video games for the entertainment of others—are big business in the streaming and video upload world. Many video game producers vigorously assert the right to prevent the publishing of Let’s Play videos or to demand a cut of the revenues. This article discusses who legally possesses the right to distribute or profit from Let’s Play content under current law, and the way that courts ought to approach these disputes consistent with the principles of copyright protection. I conclude that the nature of video game content produces conceptual challenges not necessarily present in movies and music, and that these differences have a bearing on fair use analysis as it applies to Let’s Play videos. 

View full article

visual separator

Robots Welcome? Ethical and Legal Considerations for Web Crawling and Scraping

Zachary Gold and Mark Latonero
13 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  275

7/15/2018

Constitutional & Regulatory

Web crawlers are widely used software programs designed to automatically search the online universe to find and collect information. The data that crawlers provide help make sense of the vast and often chaotic nature of the Web. Crawlers find websites and content that power search engines and online marketplaces. As people and organizations put an ever-increasing amount of information online, tech companies and researchers deploy more advanced algorithms that feed on that data. Even governments and law enforcement now use crawlers to carry out their missions. Despite the ubiquity of crawlers, their use is ambiguously regulated largely by online social norms whereby webpage headers signal whether automated “robots” are welcome to crawl their sites. As courts take on the issues raised by web crawlers, user privacy hangs in the balance. In August 2017, the Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction in such a case, deciding that LinkedIn’s website must be open to such crawlers. In March 2018, the District Court for the District of Columbia granted standing for an as-applied challenge to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to a group of academic researchers and a news organization. The Court allowed them to proceed with a case in which they now allege the law’s making a violation of website Terms of Service a crime effectively prohibits web crawling and infringes on their First Amendment Rights. In addition, news media is inundated with stories like Cambridge Analytica wherein web crawlers were used to scrape data from millions of Facebook accounts for political purposes.

This paper discusses the history of web crawlers in courts as well as the uses of such programs by a wide array of actors. It addresses ethical and legal issues surrounding the crawling and scraping of data posted online for uses not intended by the original poster or by the website on which the information is hosted. The article further suggests that stronger rules are necessary to protect the users’ initial expectations about how their data would be used, as well as their privacy.

View full article

visual separator

Smart Contracts, Blockchain, and the Next Frontier of Transactional Law

Scott A. McKinney, Rachel Landy, and Rachel Wilka
13 Wash. J.L. Tech. & Arts  313

7/15/2018

Smart contracts are an emerging technology that could revolutionize commercial transactions by eliminating inefficiencies and uncertainty created by the current transactional ecosystem of lawyers, courts, regulators, banks, and other parties with divergent interests. However, a lack of consensus around how smart contracts are implemented, uncertainty regarding enforceability, and scarcity of on point statutes and case law means that a stable legal, commercial and technical smart contract landscape has yet to emerge. The implementation of universal legal, technical and commercial standards and best practices will reduce uncertainty and promote widespread adoption and use of smart contracts.  

View full article

visual separator

Connect with us:

© Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved University of Washington School of Law

4293 Memorial Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98195