Sony Music Moves to Stop Unauthorized AI Training That Uses Its Artists' Work

One of the largest music companies in the world wants to protect the work of its artists from being used to train third-party AI systems. In a statement on Thursday, Sony Music Group and its affiliates, Sony Music Publishing and Sony Music Entertainment, states that companies aren't allowed to use training data culled from their recording artists to build their systems without permission.

"We support artists and songwriters taking the lead in embracing new technologies in support of their art," the statement reads. "Evolutions in technology have frequently shifted the course of creative industries. AI will likely continue that long-standing trend. However, that innovation must ensure that songwriters' and recording artists' rights, including copyrights, are respected." The company won't allow third-party companies to use information from its songs, lyrics, cover art, photos, or audio or audiovisual recordings unless explicitly granted permission.

Read more: Making the Next Beatles: How AI Is Changing Pop Music

Popular artists currently signed to Sony Music Group include Celine Dion, Doja Cat, Lil Nas X and 21 Savage. Songwriters on the Sony Music Publishing roster include AC/DC, The Beatles, BTS, Bob Dylan and the late Amy Winehouse.

Read more: 5-ish Things on AI: Fake James Bond Trailer Goes Viral, an Inside Look at Secretive Training Data

AI regularly makes headlines in the mainstream music world. The pop star Drake recently came under fire for using AI to generate unauthorized voice likenesses of the late Tupac Shakur as well as Snoop Dogg to use in a song disparaging rapper Kendrick Lamar, with whom he's been engaging in a musical one-upmanship war. After receiving a cease and desist letter from Shakur's estate, Drake removed the song from online platforms.

Responsible AI was the topic of this week's annual Google I/O keynote presentation. It's become of increasing importance for companies to protect their information from misuse by data miners and web scrapers.

Read more: Google Unveils Music AI Sandbox Making Loops From Prompts

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