0.2: Cash App, Cash Grab
THIS WEEK: The consequences of an infinite money hack, a dispute over patents and porn, and an (another) AI class action.
Every so often, something like this happens. An app feature is exploited, thousands of infinite money hack tutorials are posted online, and chaos ensues. Like a bad night out, the repercussions end up being a horrible hangover.
This time was no different. Late last week (Thursday, September 7), users of Cash App (mobile payment service provider) discovered a glitch. In short, users were able to transfer funds from Cash App to Apple Pay without actually having money in their Cash App account.
Like the infamous Door Dash glitch of 2022, people moved fast. Videos and tweets appeared explaining exactly how to exploit the glitch like it was an infinite money hack. Tens of thousands (allegedly trillions) of dollars in purchases were made by Cash App users. Just absolute chaos.
Of course the situation resolved and Block/Square (the owner of Cash App) fixed the glitch. That is when things really got interesting. Cash App users who exploited the glitch found negative balances when they checked their accounts.
And to clarify, we’re not talking about a few hundred dollars here:
The internet is now full of videos and posts just like this. So what happens next? Well, candidly, I don’t know. What I do know is Cash App’s Terms of Service provides that:
This is a safe-for-work article so please bare with us.
You know that crazy graph that shows how companies like Kraft, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever own pretty much every brand you’ve ever heard of? Well, if someone made a graph like that in the pornography industry, Aylo (formerly Mindgeek) would potentially be at the center of it.
We won’t jump into the entire listing of Aylo’s various storied brands – this is a serious legal newsletter, after all – but for this particular story, it’s good to know that they allegedly own brands like PornHub and several other websites that absolutely none of us have heard of.
Well, those particular companies have found themselves in a dispute with DISH and Sling over video playback and streaming technology. According to allegations in the complaint, Aylo and its various websites willfully infringe on patented streaming technology which allows users to consume video without the need for downloading, endless buffering, and low-quality resolution.
There also seems to be some confusion over what is behind the corporate veil. DISH didn’t bring suit against Aylo. Instead, they brought in a variety of entities that purportedly run the various Aylo brands.
Do we expect figuring out the exact relationship between these entities and Aylo to be a significant issue in this case? Yes. Do we think this case will get incredibly expensive for all parties? Yes. Do you think we will run out of law puns on this subject? No chance.
We want to preface this one and say that we think Generative AI is really cool and already have integrated some of these tools into our daily lives (See e.g., Robot in Suit above). That said, there are quite a few legal issues we are keeping our eyes out for (privacy, intellectual property, fake case law, etc.).
Sitting in the middle of the bingo card of potential legal issues is training on copyrighted work. An AI writes a book but only after training on a bunch of other books. Is that copyright infringement? Well, that’s already being tested in two recently filed lawsuits: one by Comedian Sarah Silverman and the other by a group of authors1.
Now let’s get a little bit broader. What about social posts, chats, comments, replies, searches, keystrokes, mouse clicks/movements, signals, or browser activity? That’s the subject of a new class action filed against OpenAI and Microsoft.
In a nutshell, the named plaintiffs allege that OpenAI/Microsoft have unlawfully scrapped potential class members’ data and used it to train their AI models.
Interestingly, we are seeing these allegations for a second time; a very similar class action was also filed against OpenAI and Microsoft just a few months ago. Will be interesting to see if more of these class actions materialize.
Couple of 0.1’s
In a classic “Florida Man” situation, a Florida man was arrested by the Coast Guard last week whilen trying to traverse the Atlantic Ocean in a hamster wheel.
Bill This to Me
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