However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith…
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Record Labels Rightly Sue Abusive AI Music Generators

However else one opines on the merits or perils of artificial intelligence (AI), everyone of good faith can agree that it mustn't become a tool for brazen copyright infringement.  Artists who pour their (sometimes literal) blood, sweat and tears into their creative works shouldn't have those works stolen and exploited by AI bots.

That is particularly true as it relates to AI music generators specifically created for that exploitative purpose.

For that reason, we should all welcome and applaud major record labels for their decisive lawsuit against AI generators Suno and Udio, whom they accuse in their complaints of copyright violation on an "unimaginable scale."

The complaints make for gripping reading unlike most legal filings, but we're not talking here about sampling various songs…[more]

July 02, 2024 • 06:30 PM

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U.S. Unionization Rate Falls to Record Low Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 26 2023
First and foremost, workers and employers alike understand that states prioritizing worker freedom and right-to-work protections enjoy far higher rates of job growth over the years and decades compared to sclerotic forced-unionization states.

For all the talk of a labor union resurgence in America, the reality is that unions are actually in record decline.  

That’s not hyperbole or partisan opinion, that’s according to the federal government itself:  

The union membership rate – the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions – was 10.1 percent in 2022, down from 10.3 percent in 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.3 million in 2022, increased by 273,000, or 1.9 percent, from 2021.  However, the total number of wage and salary workers grew by 5.3 million (mostly among nonunion workers), or 3.9 percent.  This disproportionately large increase in the number of total wage and salary employment compared with the increase in the number of union members led to a decrease in the union membership rate.  The 2022 unionization rate (10.1 percent) is the lowest on record.  In 1983, the first year where comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.  (Emphasis added.)  

So even with a pro-union White House and a federal government that tips the scales in unions’ favor, they’re failing to make the sale to American workers when their interests are actually on the line.  

Digging further into the Labor Department’s latest report imparts some revealing and unflattering details.  

First, according to the report, “The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.1 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.0 percent).”  It speaks volumes that unionization is overwhelmingly more popular in the government sector, which isn’t subject to market forces and workers are immune from job loss even when their performance falters or their jobs become economically irrational.  Governments simply raise taxes or run deeper deficits, something that private sector employers can’t do.  

That’s precisely why even Franklin Roosevelt openly opposed public sector unionization.  “All government employees,” he wrote in 1937 while president, “should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”  He added, “It has its insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.”  

Second, the Labor Department report notes, “In 2022, 30 percent of the 14.3 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.6 million and New York at 1.7 million).  However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.”  In contrast, according to the report, “Eleven states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2022:  South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.8 percent).”  

Here's what makes that distinction particularly interesting.  This month, U-Haul released its own annual report on the states with the highest inbound and outbound demand.  South Carolina and North Carolina ranked third and fourth, respectively, for inbound popularity.  In sharp contrast, at the bottom of the popularity list were California and New York at 50th and 46th, respectively.  Accordingly, the two states accounting for a disproportionate share of the nation’s unionized workers are also two of the states suffering the greatest exodus.  

The reasons for unions’ decline in an increasingly competitive global economy are readily apparent.  

First and foremost, workers and employers alike understand that states prioritizing worker freedom and right-to-work protections enjoy far higher rates of job growth over the years and decades compared to sclerotic forced-unionization states.  

Workers also recognize that unions are often better at enriching their own high-level executives with six-figure salaries – which even exceed average CEO salaries in the U.S. – than they are at improving the livelihoods of rank-and-file union members.  

Workers further realize that today’s unions act as giant political action committees supporting left-wing candidates and causes that workers themselves increasingly oppose.  In the 2020 election cycle alone, unions spent nearly $2 billion extracted from workers’ paychecks on politics.  That should be objectionable enough to the average rank-and-file worker if spending were spread 50/50 to candidates and causes spanning the political spectrum.  The fact that upwards of 95% goes to left-wing candidates and causes, however, makes it even more offensive to workers who might otherwise support unionization.  

With unions ignoring worker wellbeing in favor of political advocacy on matters like the destructive “Joint Employer Rule” and the Biden Administration’s new effort to prohibit non-compete agreements nationwide, it’s no wonder that unionization rates have reached a new low.  Until unions correct course and focus on what should be their core mission, that decline will likely only continue.  

Notable Quote   
 
"President Biden's high-stakes press conference at this week's NATO summit was a triumph -- for his challenger, former president Trump.Why? Because Biden's performance did nothing to resolve the Democratic Party's dilemma over his status as its 2024 presidential candidate. The press conference supplied Biden's internal critics with ammunition against his candidacy, such as when he misidentified Kamala…[more]
 
 
— Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon
 
Liberty Poll   

Will President Biden be the 2024 Democratic candidate for president following the Democratic National Convention in August?