The Importance of the Human Touch in AI Based Brand Enforcement

By: Ariana Isbell
February 28, 2024

The term Artificial Intelligence is thrown around a lot nowadays. You’ll see it in every pitch deck, on every website offering services, and it has become the “norm” within the world of brand enforcement and protection. In many cases, these products are not true “AI” in the sense of an artificially intelligent entity - rather, they are computer software following an algorithm to find and create patterns. These kinds of programs can be incredibly useful in a wide array of fields, but just like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word, they are not fully automated, and are therefore only practical if there is a human behind the keyboard.

In the case of Brand Protection, which is a service designed to monitor and remove illegal or infringing content, machine learning does what it does best, finding copyrighted or trademarked images and recognizing patterns. AI software gathers information by scraping content from a nearly unlimited list of websites, including social media networking sites, ecommerce platforms, and popular search engines. There is no human alive who can keep up with the volume of an algorithm, and AI software has changed the game for enforcement services across the board.

That said, AI software works best with oversight. Software alone might find and remove 1,000 URLs, but if the top listing in Google search results is misleading or redirects to a scam, all that volume doesn’t matter. Most internet users don’t look past the first few results which can be incredibly damaging to a brand, especially if that brand depends on online sales to survive. Without proper management, it’s easy for a popular brand to be completely overcome by cheap imitations with decent SEO. This is harmful for workers and consumers as well, who end up with inferior goods made in factories with poor working conditions.

Many kinds of people seek out Brand Protection services ranging from huge media conglomerates to individuals who just want their addresses deleted. In matters of privacy, where safety is a concern, even one website can make the difference. Trained analysts search for sensitive personal information, working backwards to identify any way nefarious users could find that data and remove the root source from public registries. Similarly, if a brand’s customers see a link at the top of their search, that’s likely to be the first thing they click on. Unfortunately, AI is not at a point where it’s able to prioritize enforcement efforts in the places where it’s needed most.

What’s worse is the increased risk of wrongful takedowns. We’ve seen major brands or influencers suffer blowback after AI tools accidentally went after legitimate products or their own fan communities. When submitting a DMCA notice, one must swear they have a good faith belief that the content they are reporting is not authorized, and there are legal consequences if this is not the case. It can be difficult for AI based software to distinguish between legitimate and infringing content, which creates significant risk for wrongful takedowns. Not to mention, if AI is sourcing and submitting the DMCA, who in fact is making “the good faith belief?" The brand owner, not the AI, would suffer any legal ramifications.

Most firms offer either traditional brand enforcement options, which can’t keep up with the volume of online infringements, or AI software alone, which as already discussed, is imprecise. This has revealed an incredible blindspot in enforcement that leaves brands susceptible to losses. With both software and the support of analysts and a legal team, individuals seeking Brand Protection services from Morrison Cooper can rest easy knowing that a real person is ensuring all takedowns are legitimate and any notices sent on their behalf are lawful. No matter the issue, our best of both worlds solution will make sure you’re covered.