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Sony warning to AI firms: Hands off our music! - SiliconANGLE

The largest music publisher in the world, Sony Music Group, has sent out a letter to around 700 artificial intelligence developers and music streaming services stating that the music in its catalog is not free for use in training generative AI.

The letter, which went to OpenAI, Microsoft Corp, and Google LLC, comes at a time when AI companies are facing flak from all sides due to the nature of training their AI systems, whether on images, text, or music. Last month, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff introduced the “Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act,” which, if passed, would ask AI firms to be transparent about what material their products were trained on.

Since generative AI started making waves, there have been a number of lawsuits alleging that AI companies have been training their products on content that isn’t theirs to use. The lawsuits have come from newspapers, musicians, authors of books, and no doubt such lawsuits will keep coming. In some cases, the AI companies have had to shell out cash and make deals with the companies whose content they use.

“Due to the nature of your operations and published information about your AI systems, we have reason to believe that you and/or your affiliates may already have made unauthorized uses (including TDM [text and data mining]) of SMG Content in relation to the training, development, or commercialization of AI systems,” Sony said in the letter.

It’s believed that Sony sent a separate letter to streaming platforms. Sony’s warning to them, including Spotify AB, was that they should adopt best practices and protect artists and songwriters from their music falling prey to the behemoth of the generative AI industry, an industry that looks set to have a massive impact on the world. It’s believed Sony has already negotiated with streaming platforms to update their terms of service to prohibit mining and scraping of content.

Sony said it supports “artists and songwriters taking the lead in embracing new technologies in support of their art” and understands that evolutions in technology happen, but songwriters’ and recording artists’ rights must be respected.

It’s not certain what Sony will do next, but the letter made it clear, “This letter serves to put you on notice directly…”

Photo: BRUNO CERVERA/Unsplash

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