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'Big 3' US record labels sue AI music generators Suno and Udio

Warner, Sony, and Universal filed the lawsuits, alleging that the music generating companies illegally used copyrighted songs to train their AI models.
Posted at 10:33 AM, Jun 25, 2024

The ongoing battle between the music industry and artificial intelligence has intensified, with the "Big 3" major American record labels now suing the two most prominent AI music startups.

Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group filed the lawsuits against Suno and Udio, alleging that the music-generating companies illegally used copyrighted songs to train their AI models. The Big 3 are seeking damages of up to $150,000 per piece of work that was allegedly infringed on, which could result in billions of dollars.

The rise of AI-generated music has led many artists to fear that if anyone can churn out songs in minutes that sound just like them, then they'll lose control of their voice — which is their primary asset. Hundreds of musicians — including Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi and more — signed an open letter in April, calling on tech companies to stop the "assault on human creativity."

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While acknowledging the technology has "enormous potential to advance human creativity" when used responsibly, the statement asserts that some entities are already using AI to irresponsibly "sabotage creativity and undermine" musicians. Namely, the letter states some companies are using artists' work without their authorization to train AI models. This, the letter claims, is an effort to replace the musicians' art with AI-created content that would "substantially dilute the royalty pools that are paid out to artists" and be "catastrophic" for the many "just trying to make ends meet."

The letter came as the entertainment industry as a whole grapples with a changing technological landscape that largely kicked off with the world of streaming, both for TV/film and music. A deal between actors guild SAG-AFTRA and studios gave broad protections in dealing with artificial intelligence but still left members in the dark on whether their digital replicas could be used — a similar issue for musicians, who largely remain unprotected from the technology.

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