Recording Industry Association Sues AI Companies for Copyright Infringement

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) leveled two lawsuits against AI companies over mass copyright infringement of sound recordings used to train generative technology.

The blockbuster lawsuits have been filed by the music companies that hold the rights to recordings allegedly infringed upon including Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings and Warner Records. The case against Suno, Inc., the developer of Suno AI, was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the other was filed against Uncharted Labs, Inc., the developer of Audio AI, in the Southern District of New York.

The plaintiffs argue that the AI firms have “flouted the rights of copyright owners in the music industry as part of a mad dash to become the dominant AI music generation service. Neither [these services] nor any other generative AI company, can be allowed to advance toward this goal by trampling the rights of copyright owners.”

“We can only succeed if developers are willing to work together with us,” RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a statement. “Unlicensed services like Suno and Udio that claim it’s ‘fair’ to copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all.”

“Suno and Udio are attempting to hide the full scope of their infringement rather than putting their services on a sound and lawful footing,” RIAA chief legal officer Ken Doroshow added. “These lawsuits are necessary to reinforce the most basic rules of the road for the responsible, ethical, and lawful development of generative AI systems and to bring Suno’s and Udio’s blatant infringement to an end.”

The two lawsuits are seeking for the AI firms to admit that they infringed upon copyrighted sound recordings owned by the plaintiffs, injunctions barring the organizations from infringing on copyrighted material in the future, and damages of up to $150,000 per work, along with other fees.

AI models that generate music, based on copyrighted content, could “saturate the market with machine-generated content that will directly compete with, cheapen and ultimately drown out the genuine sound recordings on which [the services were] built,” the suits claim.

The lawsuits follow previous legal action filed by UMG, Concord and ABKCO in Oct. against Anthropic, which focused more on copied lyrics.

Legal action against AI companies continues to mount as the technology embeds itself into the music industry as well as other areas of the creative space. Pulitzer-Prize winning fiction authors have banded together in a class action lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI and media companies like the New York Times have launched ambitious lawsuits against the tech giants.

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