AI Song Generators Sued by Major Record Labels for Copyright Infringement
AI Song Generators Sued by Major Record Labels for Copyright Infringement

By Jessamyn Dodd

Leading record labels are taking legal action against AI-driven music platforms Suno and Udio, accusing them of copyright infringement.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) made the announcement on June 24, naming prominent labels such as Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records as plaintiffs.

The lawsuits were filed separately: one in federal court in Massachusetts targeting Suno AI, and another in New York against Uncharted Labs, the company behind Udio AI.

The lawsuits against the AI music startups hinge on allegations of unauthorized copying and use of copyrighted sound recordings for training the AI models. The complaints emphasize that these AI companies must adhere to copyright laws and cannot bypass them under the guise of technological innovation. The plaintiffs argue that the AI models used by Suno and Udio have ingested vast amounts of copyrighted music to generate outputs that mimic genuine human-created recordings, thereby threatening the value and integrity of the original works.

The RIAA seeks to hold these companies accountable for what the plaintiffs describe as willful copyright infringement on a massive scale, potentially saturating the market with machine-generated content and undermining the rights and livelihoods of human artists.

In a press release, RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier stated that while the industry is open to working with ethical AI developers, unlicensed entities like Suno and Udio undermine artists by exploiting their work without authorization or compensation. He emphasized that such practices hinder the progress of truly innovative AI.

“We can only succeed if developers are willing to work together with us. Unlicensed services like Suno and Udio that claim it’s ‘fair’ to copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all,” the statement read.

“These lawsuits are necessary to reinforce the most basic rules of the road for the responsible, ethical, and lawful development of generative AI systems and to bring Suno’s and Udio’s blatant infringement to an end,” added Ken Doroshow, RIAA chief legal officer.

Mikey Shulman, CEO of Suno AI, defended his Cambridge-based company in a statement reported by Billboard, asserting that their technology generates entirely new content rather than reproducing existing works.

Mr. Shulman criticized the litigation, saying his company tried to have “a good faith discussion” with the corporate record labels.

“Suno’s mission is to make it possible for everyone to make music. Our technology is transformative; it is designed to generate completely new outputs, not to memorize and regurgitate pre-existing content,” Mr. Schulman said.

RIAA responded to Mr. Schulman’s statement in a post on X (Twitter), writing,”Winners of the streaming era worked cooperatively with artists and rights holders to properly license music. The losers did exactly what Suno and Udio are doing now.

The controversy over AI’s role in music creation has been ongoing, with discussions oscillating between its potential benefits and legal ramifications.

Earlier this year, Tennessee became the first state to enact laws protecting songwriters and performers from AI-related infringements, aimed at preventing unauthorized replication of artists’ voices.

In April, more than 200 artists, through the Artist Rights Alliance, called on AI companies and digital platforms to cease activities that infringe on the rights of human artists.

The Epoch Times attempted to contact Udio for a statement, but did not receive a response by the time of publication. Efforts to reach Suno AI for comment were unsuccessful.

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