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Universal Music Targets AI Access to Copyrighted Music

By Michael Vincent on April 17, 2023

UMG urges Spotify & Apple Music to limit AI use of copyrighted songs, protecting IP in AI music ecosystem.

Signalling concerns about intellectual property in the fast-emerging AI music ecosystem, Universal Music Group (UMG) is taking a dramatic step to preserve its music by encouraging streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music to restrict AI businesses from utilizing copyrighted songs to train their platforms.

In a message reported by the Financial Times, UMG asserts that AI services have been accessing copyrighted music without obtaining the necessary consent from the copyright holders.

“We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists,” UMG threatened in the email last week. The exact steps were not revealed, but could include blocking IP access from AI services, effectively preventing them from accessing data from which it can model.

The plot thickens

As AI music platforms gain popularity, concerns about potential copyright infringement have increased. UMG’s request, in addition to the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) previous warning against AI companies, signals the music industry’s growing backlash against such technology. Moreover, legal battles in the visual arts space may provide insight into how the music industry could proceed against AI platforms.

Why it matters

This issue has broader implications for the relationship between AI and creative industries. As AI continues to permeate various sectors, questions about intellectual property rights, ethical use of copyrighted content, and the need for revised regulations will likely become more pressing. The outcome of current legal battles and industry responses could shape the future of AI technology and its role in the creative process, potentially impacting artists, platforms, and users alike.

Michael Vincent
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