Paris Hilton, a16z Back $54 Million AI Copyright Fight

Paris Hilton and a16z Lead $54 Million Fight Against AI Copyright Infringement

Story Protocol, a San Francisco-based technology firm, has received $54 million in funding to combat copyright infringements exacerbated by generative AI technologies. 

Andreessen Horowitz leads the investment round, with notable supporters like Hashed, Samsung Next, Endeavor, and David Bonderman of TPG Capital. Adding a dash of celebrity appeal, Paris Hilton’s media venture 11:11 also participated in the funding.

Despite a lackluster investment climate in the cryptocurrency domain, Story Protocol’s fundraising signals a shift of focus towards artificial intelligence. 

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With the rise of platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the digital world has witnessed a surge in remixes and mashups, sparking copyright lawsuits. 

In a recent press release, the U.S. Copyright Office states:

“These issues include the use of copyrighted works to train AI models, the appropriate levels of transparency and disclosure with respect to the use of copyrighted works, the legal status of AI-generated outputs, and the appropriate treatment of AI-generated outputs that mimic personal attributes of human artists.”

Recognizing this, venture capitalists increasingly divert their attention and capital to AI-focused initiatives.

Story Protocol’s co-founder Jason Zhao confirmed that the freshly injected funds will accelerate the launch of its blockchain-based technology slated for next year. Andreessen Horowitz received equity and an option to buy digital tokens, should the company decide to issue them. However, Zhao clarified that there are currently no definitive plans to do so.

Technology Can Simplify Licensing

Story Protocol’s new blockchain technology targets to be a diverse content intellectual property storehouse. An author can register their novel on Story Protocol, then sell rights for translations, spin-offs, or adaptations.

Co-founder Seung-Yoon Lee, formerly the mind behind mobile serial fiction platform Radish, cited the example of a viral song that used AI-generated voices of Drake and the Weeknd. The song was taken down by Universal Music Group, illustrating the rising tension between creative freedom and copyright laws. 

“You can’t go and cease and desist everything,” Lee emphasized.

YouTube channel, 20syl, uploaded a video called AllttA – Savages, which uses an AI-generated version of rapper Jay-Z’s voice

Not only content to create a digital fortress for existing intellectual property, Story Protocol envisions a larger role for itself. It aims to serve as an infrastructure layer that catalyzes a new era of open and collaborative intellectual property. 

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“Just as Git revolutionized software development, Story Protocol is transforming the development of creative IP,” said Simon Kim, CEO and Managing Partner at Hashed. 

Story Protocol encourages third-party developers to build services such as crowdfunding and IP licensing through its open structure.

This substantial investment round also saw participation from global names like Si-hyuk Bang, founder and chairman of HYBE/BTS, and CH Kim, CEO of Krafton/PUBG. Alongside them, David S. Goyer, best known for his screenwriting in the “Blade” and “The Dark Knight” trilogies, has come on board as an advisor.


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