Music Industry fights back against AI with lawsuits

The music industry’s struggle with artificial intelligence has taken a new turn. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and major record labels have filed copyright infringement lawsuits against two leading AI music companies, Suno and Udio. These lawsuits, filed in federal courts in Boston and New York, accuse both companies of using copyrighted sound recordings without permission to train their AI models.

RIAA chief legal officer Ken Doroshow described the cases as clear instances of copyright infringement involving large-scale, unauthorized copying of sound recordings. He accused Suno and Udio of hiding the extent of their infringement instead of operating within legal boundaries.

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The plaintiffs claim that Suno and Udio used music from various artists and eras without obtaining the necessary licenses or consent. They are seeking significant damages, up to $150,000 per infringed work, along with other legal fees.

The lawsuits reveal that when confronted about their use of copyrighted material, both Suno and Udio deflected the accusations, labeling their training data as “confidential business information.” The complaint against Suno specifically notes that the company’s ability to create high-quality imitations of human musical expression is due to their unauthorized use of copyrighted recordings.

This legal action reflects growing concerns within the music industry about the impact of AI. Last year, Universal Music Group and other publishers sued Anthropic for distributing copyrighted lyrics through their AI chatbot, Claude 2. AI-generated music, which can replicate the voices of popular artists, has raised alarms about the potential exploitation of creative works without proper compensation.

As AI technology progresses, the debate over copyright, fair compensation, and ethical use of creative works in AI training is expected to grow. The legal battle against Suno and Udio highlights the complex challenges that lie ahead as AI becomes more embedded in the creative world.