Major record labels sue AI companies for allegedly stealing copyrighted music

Major record labels have sued two artificial intelligence companies for allegedly stealing copyrighted sound recordings to generate music.

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and other music giants have filed copyright infringement lawsuits against Suno and Udio, the Recording Industry Assn. of America announced Monday.

The complaints against the two tech companies allege that they lifted material from copyrighted songs spanning various artists, genres and time periods to train their generative AI models.

“The music community has embraced AI and we are already partnering and collaborating with responsible developers to build sustainable AI tools centered on human creativity that put artists and songwriters in charge,” Mitch Glazier, chief executive of the RIAA, said Monday in a statement.

“But 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 lawsuit against Suno was filed Monday in Massachusetts, while the complaint against Udio was filed Monday in New York.

Among the copyrighted tracks allegedly mined by the AI programs were Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” the Beach Boys’ “I Get Around,” ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” Michael Bublé’s “Sway,” Green Day’s “American Idiot,” the Temptations’ “My Girl” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

The record labels are demanding that Suno and Udio admit to mining their music libraries without permission and that the courts prohibit the AI companies from poaching their copyrighted material in the future. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages for copyright infringements.

Suno and Udio did not immediately respond Monday to requests for comment.

The lawsuits landed about a month after Sony Music delivered letters to 700 artificial intelligence developers warning them not to use its artists’ music to train their models. The New York-based music company said in a statement that it approves of “artists and songwriters taking the lead in embracing new technologies in support of their art” while vowing to protect their work from AI thieves.

Some musicians have begun to embrace AI as a tool. In May, indie pop artist Washed Out released an AI-generated music video for his song “The Hardest Part.” The Georgia-based singer-songwriter, whose real name is Ernest Greene, used OpenAI’s Sora text-to-video technology to make the video.

Times staff writer Wendy Lee contributed to this report.

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