Two AI start-ups sued by record labels over copyright violations 

The world’s largest record labels are taking legal action against two AI start-ups, Suno and Udio, accusing them of massive copyright infringement. 

Companies like Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records claim that these firms’ software unlawfully reproduces music, generating similar content and demanding $150,000 per infringing work.

In the past, AI companies have defended their practices under the fair use doctrine, which allows the use of copyrighted material without a license under certain conditions, such as for satire or news. Proponents liken AI’s learning process to the way humans learn by consuming various forms of media.

However, the lawsuits filed in federal courts in Massachusetts and New York argue that Suno and Udio are profiting from outright copying. 

The complaints state that the AI models ingest copyrighted recordings solely to produce new, competitive music files, rather than offering any transformative purpose.

The record labels argue that the AI-generated works are nearly indistinguishable from the originals, giving examples like “Prancing Queen,” which closely mimics ABBA’s style, and Udio’s renditions of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” and The Temptations’ “My Girl.” 

The lawsuits also claim that these activities undermine genuine human creativity and violate copyright laws, warning that such practices threaten the entire music industry.

The Recording Industry Association of America announced these lawsuits on Monday, marking a significant moment in a broader wave of legal challenges from authors, news organisations, and other groups against AI firms’ use of their work.

Udio, operating out of New York under the name Uncharted Labs, has backing from notable venture capitalists like Andreessen Horowitz. It gained rapid popularity after its public release in April, particularly for creating “BBL Drizzy,” a parody track stemming from the Kendrick Lamar and Drake feud.

Suno is based in Massachusetts and launched its first product last year after partnering with Microsoft. The company has over 10 million users. It charges a subscription fee and recently secured $125 million from investors.

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