- The use of AI-generated music, including mash-ups and tribute albums, has sparked a new debate on copyright laws and the future of music.
- The legal ownership of AI-generated music is unclear, and copyright laws were not designed with this technology in mind.
- While AI has the potential to revolutionize the music industry and offer new revenue streams, it raises concerns about intellectual property rights and the value of creativity.
A new controversy has erupted in the music industry due to an AI-generated song called “Heart On My Sleeve.” Created by Ghostwriter977, a popular TikTok creator, the song went viral, with over 275,000 YouTube plays and 625,000 Spotify plays, before being taken down from all major streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Universal Music Group (UMG), the parent company of the record label of artists Drake and The Weeknd, demanded that these platforms remove the song, citing copyright infringement. UMG argued that using artists’ music for generative AI training violates copyright law and breaching agreements. The presence of such infringing content on digital service providers forces stakeholders to choose between supporting artists, fans, and creativity or enabling deep fakes, fraud, and unpaid artists, UMG added.
This incident has reignited the debate around copyright issues in using AI to create music mash-ups. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects streaming platforms such as Apple, Spotify, and YouTube from legal liability for content uploaded by third parties. However, they are required to comply with valid copyright takedown requests. According to a Universal Music Group spokesperson, the streaming platforms are obligated to take down infringing content.
After “Heart On My Sleeve” was uploaded to Spotify and YouTube on April 4, UMG demanded that these platforms remove the song. Although YouTube removed it, fans of the AI song continued to reupload it, attracting even more listeners. The streaming giant eventually entered a game of whack-a-mole, trying to comply with UMG’s request.
Andrew Rossow, CEO of AR Media and a legal attorney, said an artist or record label’s legal recourse in pursuing a lawsuit depends on several factors, starting with the country with jurisdiction over the infringement case. He noted that copyright issues related to using AI to make digital recordings of an artist can be viewed through the same lens as music piracy, where a human was involved and could, in most cases, be tracked to a physical location to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of filing a lawsuit.
The use of AI in music production and mash-ups is a relatively new phenomenon that is only gaining steam. Another AI-generated project called “AIsis – The Lost Tapes” by the British rock band Breezer was recently released, featuring the computer-generated voice of Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher performing Breezer’s songs. These AI-generated albums appear to be popular with music lovers, but their legality remains a point of contention.
The impact of AI on music production has been significant, with many artists using the technology to create music and new sounds. For instance, the use of AI algorithms in synthesizing sounds has enabled artists to create unique melodies and harmonies that would otherwise have been impossible. AI is also used in analyzing music data to predict the success of a song, identify patterns in music consumption, and develop personalized playlists. With the development of new tools such as generative adversarial networks (GANs), artists can now create AI-generated content that sounds like their music, leading to new creative possibilities.
However, the use of AI in music production has also raised concerns about its impact on traditional music creation and the potential for copyright infringement. In particular, the use of AI-generated mash-ups of popular songs has raised the question of whether such content violates copyright laws. AI-generated content can create a situation where it becomes difficult to distinguish between original and copied content, making it hard to determine if copyright infringement has occurred.
Additionally, there are concerns about the rights of artists whose music is used to train AI algorithms. Many artists argue that they should have control over how their music is used in such instances and receive royalties for its use. Currently, there are no standard rules or regulations governing the
AI-generated music mash-ups like “Heart On My Sleeve” and AI-generated tribute albums like “AIsis – The Lost Tapes” have sparked a new debate over copyright laws and the future of music. The use of AI to create music has been growing in popularity in recent years, but it has also raised concerns about intellectual property rights, royalties, and the value of creativity.
One of the main issues with using AI to create music is the question of ownership. When an AI system generates a new piece of music that emulates the style of a particular artist, who owns the copyright? Is it the AI system, the person who created the AI system, the person who trained the AI system on the artist’s music, or the artist themselves?
The answer is not clear-cut, as copyright laws were not designed with AI-generated music in mind. In the case of “Heart On My Sleeve,” the record label argued that the use of the artists’ music for generative AI training constituted copyright infringement. They also claimed that the presence of infringing content on digital service providers forced stakeholders to choose between supporting artists, fans, and creativity or enabling deep fakes, fraud, and unpaid artists.
While platforms like Spotify, Apple, and YouTube are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields them from being legally liable for content uploaded by third parties, they are obligated to comply with valid copyright takedown requests. In this case, YouTube removed the video, and Spotify complied with UMG’s request, but fans continued to re-upload the song to YouTube, making it difficult for the platform to comply with the request.
The legal recourse of an artist or record label in pursuing a lawsuit depends on several factors, including which country would have jurisdiction over the infringement case. Copyright issues related to AI-generated music can be viewed through the lens of the era of music piracy, where a human was involved and could be tracked to a physical location to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of filing a lawsuit.
Despite the legal and ethical concerns, the use of AI to create music has the potential to revolutionize the industry. AI systems can analyze vast amounts of data, including music, and generate new works that sound like they were created by humans. This technology can save time and effort for musicians and producers and can even help them discover new sounds and genres.
Moreover, AI-generated music mash-ups and tribute albums could offer a new revenue stream for artists and record labels. Instead of suing AI-generated music creators for copyright infringement, they could collaborate with them to create new works and share in the profits. AI-generated music could also be used to create unique concert experiences or soundtracks for movies and video games.
In conclusion, the use of AI to create music is a double-edged sword. While it has the potential to revolutionize the industry and offer new revenue streams, it also raises concerns about copyright, ownership, and the value of creativity. As the use of AI in music continues to grow, it is important for the industry to find a balance between innovation and respect for intellectual property rights.