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Lawsuits Filed by Major Music Labels Against AI Copyright Infringement

The world’s largest record labels are suing two AI startups for alleged copyright infringement in what could be a landmark case. Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records claim that Suno and Udio have engaged in massive copyright violations. They allege that the AI software used by these startups unlawfully extracts music to generate similar works, seeking compensation of $150,000 (£118,200) per work.

Suno did not respond to requests for comment, while Udio stated in a blog post that it has no interest in reproducing content. These lawsuits, initiated by the Recording Industry Association of America on Monday, reflect a broader trend of challenges against AI firms’ rights to use copyrighted material, joined by authors, news organizations, and others.

Suno, headquartered in Massachusetts, introduced its first product last year and claims over 10 million users for its music creation tool, partnered with Microsoft and backed by $125 million in recent investments. New York-based Udio, also known as Uncharted Labs, gained attention for its app used in creating “BBL Drizzy,” a parody related to the Kendrick Lamar-Drake feud, following its public release in April.

Previous arguments by AI firms citing fair use under copyright law, likening AI learning to human learning processes from prior works, have been countered by record labels. Udio asserts its system is designed to innovate with new musical ideas and incorporates advanced filters to prevent copyright infringement, expressing confidence in AI’s role in modern society.

However, the record labels claim in their federal court filings in Massachusetts and New York that Suno and Udio profit directly from copying songs, producing outputs like imitations of ABBA’s “Prancing Queen” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” They argue that such use lacks transformative purpose and threatens genuine artistic expression protected by copyright law, warning of AI’s potential to disrupt the music industry’s creative ecosystem.

These legal actions follow a public outcry from nearly 200 artists, including Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj, urging against what they see as predatory AI practices in music.

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