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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Debunking Gun Control Myths Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Wednesday, February 21 2018
Compared with the rest of the world, the U.S. actually suffers a murder rate well below the global average...

In the wake of last week's Parkland, Florida, murders by a deranged former student, culture warriors predictably rushed to exploit it in their ongoing effort to chip away at other people's Second Amendment rights. 

Typically, gun-grabbing gladiators descended into mere emotional exhibitionism and implored politicians to "do something," but conspicuously avoided identifying what exactly should be done. 

And to the extent that any of them did identify actual policy proposals restricting Second Amendment freedoms, they rested their proposals upon commonly held popular myths that must be debunked, lest their efforts unfairly target the Second Amendment's individual right to keep and bear arms and make the nation less safe, not more safe. 

First, Second Amendment restrictionists claim that "these types of shootings only happen in America." 

Anyone capable of recalling the 2011 Norwegian massacre in which Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people, or the 2015 Paris shootings in which 137 people were killed, should instantly recognize the falsity of that claim.  Those two nations obviously restrict firearm possession to a far tighter degree than the United States, so the intellectual laziness of claiming that restricting Second Amendment rights will prevent such events as Parkland are manifestly false. 

Moreover, widely available demographic data refutes the claim that the U.S. suffers a unique vulnerability to mass shootings.  In reality, America trails nearly a dozen European nations that prohibit or restrict gun possession in terms of mass shooting rate, including Austria, Belgium, France, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Albania. 

The U.S. does stand unique in terms of protecting the right to keep and bear arms, so those who would restrict Second Amendment rights possess a transparent interest in claiming that only the U.S. suffers mass shootings.  But that claim is simply and demonstrably false. 

Second, gun control activists claim that the U.S. suffers a disproportionately high murder rate, but that's also false. 

Compared with the rest of the world, the U.S. actually suffers a murder rate well below the global average of approximately 11 murders per 100,000 population.  The U.S. murder rate stands at approximately 4 murders per 100,000 people annually, which is far closer to the European and Canadian average of between 2 and 4 per 100,000 people than the worldwide average of 11. 

It also bears emphasis that many nations that follow gun controllers' agenda of firearm restriction or prohibition actually do suffer abnormally high murder rates, including Russia (14 per 100,000), Mexico (24 per 100,000) and Brazil (26 per 100,000).  It should also be noted that there's no link between the prevalence of firearms in the U.S. and its murder rate.  In fact, that relationship is inverse.  Since 1993, the U.S. murder rate has been cut in half, while the number of firearms has increased by approximately 50% and the number of states allowing concealed carry has increased from fewer than 10 to nearly 50. 

Third, Second Amendment restrictionists claim that "nobody needs an 'assault rifle' like the one used in Parkland. 

Although too few Second Amendment advocates address that claim directly, it's false as well.  Begin with the fact that almost all firearms homicides in the U.S. are committed with handguns, not rifles.  That stands to reason, because a criminal typically needs to conceal his weapon, not carry around an easily detected and bulky rifle.  Conversely, such rifles can be invaluable for self-defense.  Obviously, someone interested in defending one's home, family or self need not be concerned about the rifle being detected. In fact, making others aware of its presence can itself deter attack.  Additionally, such rifles offer far greater accuracy and stopping power than a handgun, and far greater ease of use in a dangerous confrontation than a bolt-action "hunting rifle." 

More broadly, even the lowest and most conservative estimates reveal that firearms are used each year in self-defense between 55,000 and 80,000 times annually, which dwarfs the approximately 10,000 firearm homicides annually in America. 

Accordingly, some people very much do "need" such weapons for self-defense.  And efforts to prohibit them can end up reducing law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves, their loved ones and their property. 

Fourth, and most shamefully, gun control advocates and cultural warriors take immense delight in claiming that the National Rifle Association (NRA) somehow controls elected leaders of both major political parties with its campaign contributions. 

Again, that claim is flatly and demonstrably false.  In 2016, the NRA contributed just over $1 million to campaigns.  That's not even in the top 50 donors, such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with $33 million, the National Education Association (NEA) with $30 million, Soros Fund Management with $29 million and the anti-gun Bloomberg LP with $25 million. 

Despite the facts, these stubborn popular myths constitute the foundation for Second Amendment restrictionists' ongoing efforts to limit or end the right to keep and bear arms that has served the U.S. well throughout its history, and continues to offer a bulwark against potential oppression and assault.  Only be recognizing and amplifying their falsity can we protect law-abiding citizens' constitutional rights, and achieve an informed and intelligent discussion on how to truly limit murderous rampages like the one that occurred last week in Parkland. 

 

Notable Quote   
 
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