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Major labels take legal action against two prominent AI song generators over "unimaginable" copyright violations

The RIAA is seeking damages of up to $150,000 for each piece of infringed work which is alleged to reach an "almost unimaginable scales".

  • 28 June 2024
Major labels take legal action against two prominent AI song generators over "unimaginable" copyright violations

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has taken legal action against two prominent AI music generators for copyright infringement.

Record labels behind RIAA’s case include Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group Recordings Recordings and Warner Records — all of whom are suing tech platforms Suno and Udio for infringement of copyrighted recordings "at an almost unimaginable scale," according to Billboard.

The case was filed on Monday, with the labels seeking an injunction to stop the companies from data training its software with copyrighted songs as well as damages of up to $150,000 (£118,200) on each piece of infringed work, Wired reports.

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Both Suno and Udio are start-up operations but have become leading figures in the area of AI generative music, as both can create an entire song with the prompt of a single word — Udio is best known for being used to create the Metro Boomin-styled Drake diss track ‘BBL Drizzy’.

Mitch Glazier, RIAA’s chairman and chief executive, told The Guardian that the music industry was collaborating with responsible AI developers but "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".

"Building and operating [these services] requires at the outset copying and ingesting massive amounts of data to ‘train’ a software ‘model’ to generate outputs," the lawyers for the major labels share with Billboard.

The lawyers continue: "For [these services], this process involved copying decades worth of the world’s most popular sound recordings and then ingesting those copies [to] generate outputs that imitate the qualities of genuine human sound recordings."

Suno’s CEO, Mikey Shulman, shared the following statement with Billboard: "Suno’s mission is to make it possible for everyone to make music.

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"Our technology is transformative; it is designed to generate completely new outputs, not to memorize and regurgitate pre-existing content," he continues. "That is why we don’t allow user prompts that reference specific artists."

"We would have been happy to explain this to the corporate record labels that filed this lawsuit (and in fact, we tried to do so), but instead of entertaining a good faith discussion, they’ve reverted to their old lawyer-led playbook. Suno is built for new music, new uses, and new musicians. We prize originality."

Mixmag has reached out to both Sudo and Udio for a comment.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter