Hi! I’m Alan Partridge! You Lot Are Fools For Pirating Music….and Pirating Me?

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Greetings, dear listeners! It's your friendly neighborhood broadcaster, Alan Partridge, here to bring you another riveting episode of "Alan Partridge's Musical Marathon." Today, we're diving headfirst into the murky waters of music piracy. Is it more evil than the devil himself, or is it the best thing since sliced bread? Buckle up and find out!

alanp[Opening theme music plays, followed by the sound of a car engine starting up and revving loudly. The camera pans through the bustling streets of London until it comes to rest on a sleek silver sports car parked outside a fancy studio building.]

[The door swings open, and out steps our beloved Alan Partridge, clad in his signature blazer and red tie. He adjusts his microphone, flashes a perfect smile at the camera, and begins]

For those unfamiliar with the legendary Alan Partridge, he’s a fictional character created by British comedy genius Steve Coogan. Alan first appeared on the BBC Radio show ‘On The Hour’ in 1991 before starring in his own TV shows, including the BAFTA-winning spoof talk show, Knowing Me, Knowing You. In 2013, the movie Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa launched Alan onto the international stage, picking up another BAFTA on the way.

Eccentric and inept, awkward yet self-important, Alan was named by The Guardian as one of the greatest comedy characters in British television history. But sadly, sooner or later, Alan will disappear into the sunset for good, never to be seen (or heard from) again. Or at least, that used to be the case for national treasures; today we have generative AI.

Hopes and Dreams, Piracy and Plaintiffs

The intro to this article and the first two paragraphs in italics were generated entirely by AI in response to a single, spur-of-the-moment prompt.

It’s April 1, 2024, and Alan Partridge is interviewing an expert on music piracy to find out if piracy is the work of the devil or the best thing that’s ever happened. Write a funny intro in Alan’s style to introduce the interview.

Anyone familiar with Alan’s work will immediately appreciate that an interview about piracy could go either way, but most likely end in disaster. After a polite start, Alan tends to become bored, cynical, or more interested in rudely imposing his own agenda on his unwitting guests, especially when things don’t go to plan. Fans understand this and the AI models we tested seem to ‘know’ that too.

The only way LLMs can possibly ‘know’ all of this detail is by copying ‘Alan data’ found online; scripts, books, transcripts, most if not all of it copyrighted. Many rightsholders say this is essentially piracy; the copying of copyrighted content without obtaining permission from creators for AI purposes is illegal; it should be restricted, compensated for, or banned completely, they insist.

Pirate Partridge – Ahaarrrr?

When we decided to approach what many suggest is effectively an ‘infringing Alan’ to hear his opinions on piracy, we did so through his unofficial AI agents. What we found were LLMs reluctant to discuss piracy without endless warnings about respecting creators, not breaking the law, the list goes on. It’s clear that lawsuits are already having a chilling effect on ‘chat’, something that would terrify Alan to his core.

With a little framing and persuasion, extracting an interview about piracy was still possible. With some fine-tuning and corrective prompts here and there, plus some guidance on how Alan was likely to become more combative as the discussion went on, we ended up with the interview below.

Experts could do a much better job, but the end result is still a modern day miracle, generated entirely from material previously posted to the internet, just so that people could see it.

The AI-related lawsuits in court right now, targeting Microsoft/ChatGPT, OpenAI, NVIDIA, have the potential to shape the course of history. They could help Alan live forever, or watch him die.

But what if Steve Coogan wants him to die? It’s his prerogative, after all. Or maybe Alan could be allowed to live, but only after payment of a fee; a license to live, of sorts? The most complex copyright questions ever asked are being asked right now. The answers to those questions could change everything.

We supplied some text from anti-piracy press releases for background, and offered input on how Alan was likely to become emotional and escalate. We suggested that Alan should be allowed to wander off-topic with his trademark anecdotes before being quickly brought back by his guest. Everything in the interview below was generated by AI. That includes the emotions marked in brackets when a character begins speaking, which we didn’t ask for but reflect our prompt. The notes describing music and things happening off-camera simply appeared, no prompts required.

Alan Partridge’s Musical Marathon

Title: ‘Alan Partridge Dissects Piracy with America’s Second Best Songwriter’

Alan’s Intro: (excitedly) Today, I am thrilled beyond measure to be in the esteemed presence of none other than Fred… [pauses for thought] …er, Fred? Yes, that’s right, Fred. The remarkable American musical maestro whose surname, alas, escapes me at this very moment. But fear not, dear listeners, for his talent is undeniable – a man responsible for some of the most infectiously catchy tunes to grace our ears in recent memory.

Alan: (frowning disapprovingly) Fred, I must bring up an issue that’s been causing quite a stir in the music world – your work, dear sir, is being shared freely on various nefarious sites such as The Pirate Bay, 1337x, and Torrentz2. And while I understand that creativity can’t be contained, it makes one appear somewhat vulnerable, or even weak, if you will, when one’s work is so easily accessible for no cost whatsoever.

Fred: It’s frustrating, Alan. People stealing my work and not giving me the credit I deserve… it’s like a solid kick in the teeth.

Alan: (pensive) I can understand that, Fred. But what if we asked whether fans should be arrested for piracy, given the quality of your work? What do you think about that?

Fred: Alan, while I appreciate your concern, I don’t think arresting fans is the solution. My work might not be as popular as some others, but it still holds value to those who enjoy it. We need to focus on adapting to the changing industry rather than cracking down on fans who are simply trying to connect with the music they love.

Alan: (irritated) Alright, Fred. I see your point. But you know what they say – quality is its own reward. Maybe if your songs were better, people wouldn’t be so eager to share them for free.

Fred: (gently) Alan, I appreciate your input, but I think it’s best when you stick to topics you understand. Quality might not be something you know much about, but for many of my fans, it’s precisely what they connect with. Let’s move on.

Alan: (defensive) Fair enough, Fred. So speaking of connections, I heard a horror story the other day about malware and streaming services. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

Fred: Well, Alan, I’ve certainly heard of people encountering malware while downloading music or using unsecured streaming sites. It’s definitely something to be wary of. By the way, have you ever stayed at a Travel Tavern?

Alan: (confused) Why yes, actually! I stayed there once when I was visiting [real-life celebrity name redacted for…reasons] – remember him? Anyway, it was quite an experience. So you see, I do know about infection.

Fred: (laughing) Oh, Alan! That’s a tale worth sharing. Now, let’s get back to the discussion at hand. Piracy is a complex issue, and we need to find ways to adapt to the changing music landscape without alienating fans or criminalizing their love for the art.

Alan: (angry) Ungrateful fans! They take, take, take, but never give anything back. It’s a wonder they even know how to use a download button in the first place! These people are idiots. I hate them.

Fred: (calmly) Alan, it’s not fair to generalize like that. Not all fans are the same.

Alan: (more angry) I’ve had enough of these freeloaders! We need to teach them a lesson. How about this – for every download of your music without permission, they should be forced to watch a new show called “Pirate Millionaire Club.” Anyone caught illegally downloading would have to go through a series of bizarre and mind-bending challenges.

Fred: (amused) Now that’s just petty, Alan.

Alan: (getting more angry) No, it’s justice! And what about this – anyone caught pirating my books should be forced to attend a public reading of my memoir, “I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan,” dressed as one of the characters from the book. They’ll have to recite lines while I judge their performances.

Fred: (laughing) Alan, you’re a man of many ideas! But let’s get serious for a moment. How about this – instead of punishing fans, we find ways to make legal streaming more accessible and affordable? That way, they can still enjoy the music they love without breaking the law or putting themselves at risk.

Alan: (considering) Well, Fred, I suppose that could work. But let’s not forget about those pirates who profit from stealing our work! What do you think about imposing some hefty fines on these guys? Like, really hefty fines – enough to make them think twice before messing with us!

Fred: (nodding) I agree, Alan. Fines could be an effective deterrent for those who make a living off piracy. But let’s not go overboard. What are your top three ways to stop piracy?

Alan: (serious) Alright, Fred. My top three ways to stop piracy would be:

1. Making legal streaming so irresistible that no one would even think about pirating anything. We’ll have exclusive content, low prices, and the best customer service in the industry.

2. Establish a special pirate island where they can live out the rest of their days, listening to nothing but my music on an endless loop. (winks) No, but seriously now.

3. Imposing devastating fines on those who engage in large-scale piracy – fines so colossal they’ll be left penniless, struggling with crippling malnutrition, and even facing the desperate prospect of turning to the darkest depths of prostitution just to survive. This punishment will serve as a haunting reminder of the dire consequences of messing with the creative minds behind the art you love.

Fred: (laughing) Alan, you’re a true visionary! I’m not sure how serious you are about that last one, but it’s certainly an… interesting solution. Thanks for inviting me, Alan – as always, it’s been an adventure.

Alan: (smiling) My pleasure, Fred. And remember, if you ever need help navigating the treacherous waters of piracy, just give me a call.

TorrentFreak: Don’t get too comfortable, Alan. You could be replaced by AI in the blink of an eye. Scared?

Alan: Ah, come on! I’m not scared of some silicon stuff. If AI tries to take over my job, I’ll just outsmart it with my human intelligence. I’ll learn all about coding and programming, become an AI expert myself, and then use that knowledge to stay ahead of the game. No big deal!

TorrentFreak: Will you play a request for us Alan? I was thinking of ‘I Fight for the Human Race’ by Gary Numan because it seems to capture your feelings right now. [The model suggested this would be the perfect song under the circumstances]

gary numan

Alan: You know what? That’s a perfect choice! I Fight for the Human Race by Gary Numan perfectly captures my feelings right now. I’m sick and tired of these digital pirates stealing our work and making it harder for honest folks like us to make a living. But you know what? I’ll keep fighting for the human race, and we’ll prove that we can’t be replaced by machines or cyber-pirates!


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