Key labels for sending “takedown notices” to AI Soundalikes’ streaming services

The three major label groups have been in talks with big music streaming services to find a way to get them to take down recordings using AI-produced vocals created to look like famous artists, painting to learn. The idea under discussion with Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music would operate much like those under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but would flag violations of publicity rights, rather than copyrights, according to sources in all three disciplines. Unlike the DMCA, this arrangement appears to be optional.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 gives online services that use, store, or transmit copyrighted works a “safe haven” from secondary liability for copyright infringement as long as they comply with a notice-and-takedown system that allows rights holders to require them to remove protected content Copyright. This law will not apply to most AI-generated audio tracks because they do not violate the protected elements of copyrighted recordings or compositions, rather it is a trademark or right of publicity, and celebrities may be able to obtain protection to protect their names and likenesses from unauthorized. commercial exploitation.

Songs that parody the voices of big-name talent have become popular over the past month, reaching widespread interest in mid-April when the track “Heart on My Sleeve,” which appears to use artificial intelligence to mimic the style and tone of Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals, was released. Upload them to streaming services and then quickly remove them. (The song did not credit these artists, although they are referenced in social media posts about it.)

Citing publicity rights can be more complicated than copyright, because they are matters of state law in the United States, supported by limited legal precedent. Rights vary by country, protections for deceased artists vary more broadly, and the use of vocal songs for creative purposes may be protected in some cases as freedom of expression. Complicating matters, these rights often belong to the artists, not the labels, who are supposed to authorize notices on their behalf. However, for now, this is the most obvious legal argument for keeping AI-generated sounds away from the major broadcast platforms.

On an earnings call on April 26, UMG’s CEO and Chairman Lucien Grange He seems to be referring this approach to investors. “The recent massive development in generative AI…will create rights issues with respect to existing copyright law, in the United States and other countries, as well as laws governing trademarks, name and likeness, impersonation, and the right of publicity,” he said. “Moreover, we have provisions in our commercial contracts that provide additional protection.” It’s not clear whether the removals issued by the major corporations would be based on these rulings, state law, good faith, or some combination.

Some executives have raised concerns that AI voiceovers that mimic the voices of popular artists could lead to consumer confusion. However, a few artists like Grimes and Holly Herndon have embraced the technology, training their own AI voice models and making them available to the public.

Meanwhile, companies like Uberduck, Supertone, Lingyin Engine, and are marketing models with which to replicate sounds., which launched last week, said it had received more than 100,000 sign-ups in anticipation. Tencent Music Entertainment executives announced in November that with the Lingyin Engine they have created and released more than 1,000 songs that already have synthetic AI voices, one of which has accumulated 100 million streams.

This stance by leading streaming services runs counter to a recent announcement from blockchain-based music platform Audius, which announced that artists can now “subscribe” to allow AI-generated works on their artist page. To organize this new music and avoid confusion, Audius will create a separate tab on the Artists page especially for user-generated content.

Representatives for Universal, Sony, Warner, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music did not respond to requests for comment.

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