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Sony Music accuses Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI of unauthorised use of artists' songs

The music publishing company has sent letters to tech giants, seeking clarification on whether they have used its songs for AI development.

Sony Music, a global music publisher, has sent letters to Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI, seeking clarification on whether they have utilised its music in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, as reported by BBC News.

Sony Music, home to artists such as Beyonce and Adele, is explicitly prohibiting the training, development, or monetisation of AI technologies using its songs without prior authorisation.

In letters dispatched to over 700 firms, Sony Music has expressed its concern, indicating that it has "reason to believe" that recipients "may already have made unauthorised uses" of its music. The company has set a deadline for these firms to respond, asserting its intent to enforce its copyright "to the full extent permitted by applicable law," including measures outlined in regulations such as the EU's upcoming AI Act.

Sony Music's complaint centers on the fact that AI can only produce music after being exposed to billion of songs, some of which fall under its copyright ownership. Both Google and OpenAI have indeed created AI tools capable of generating music, although the specifics of the datasets used to train these models remain undisclosed.

In the letter sent to hundreds of recipients, Sony Music has demanded comprehensive details regarding the use of its copyrighted songs in the training of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Each recipient is required to disclose specifics about the Sony-owned songs employed, the methods of access—such as via online streaming platforms—and information on any copies made, including their current status and duration of existence.

The music publisher specified that a copy could encompass even a segment of a song, indicating its willingness to negotiate licensing agreements for prospective utilisation.

Meanwhile, Universal Music has also initiated legal proceedings against Antrophic in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that the AI company has violated Universal Music's copyright pertaining to the lyrics of hundreds of songs.

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