World’s largest music labels sues AI start-ups over copyright infringement

The world’s largest record labels are suing two AI start-ups over alleged copyright infringement in a potentially significant case. Record labels Companies such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records accuse Suno and Udio of large-scale copyright violations. They claim the software from these start-ups steals music to produce similar works and are seeking $150,000 (£118,200) per infringement.

Suno has not commented, while Udio stated in a blog post on Tuesday that it is “completely uninterested in reproducing content.” The lawsuits, announced by the Recording Industry Association of America on Monday, are part of a broader legal movement by authors, news organizations, and other groups challenging AI firms’ rights to use their work.

Suno, based in Massachusetts, launched its first product last year and boasts over 10 million users. It partners with Microsoft and charges a monthly fee for its service, recently raising $125 million from investors. Udio, based in New York and known as Uncharted Labs, is supported by venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz. It released its app in April, quickly gaining fame for creating the parody track “BBL Drizzy” related to the feud between Kendrick Lamar and Drake.

AI companies have previously argued that their use of material is fair under the fair use doctrine, which permits the use of copyrighted works without a license for purposes such as satire and news. Supporters compare machine learning by AI tools to human learning from previous works. Udio stated its system is “explicitly designed to create music reflecting new musical ideas” and uses advanced filters to avoid reproducing copyrighted works or artists’ voices. They stand by their technology and believe generative AI will become essential in modern society.

However, the complaints, filed in federal courts in Massachusetts and New York, allege that the AI firms profit from copying songs. The complaints argue that the AI models ingest copyrighted recordings merely to produce new, competing music files. The lawsuits claim that works like “Prancing Queen” are indistinguishable from genuine ABBA recordings, and songs cited in the Udio lawsuit include Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” and The Temptations’ “My Girl.”

The record labels argue that the motive is purely commercial, threatening the genuine human artistry that copyright laws protect. They insist that AI companies must follow the rules and warn that the “wholesale theft” of recordings endangers the entire music ecosystem.

These lawsuits follow a recent letter signed by approximately 200 artists, including Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj, calling for an end to the “predatory” use of AI in the music industry.

Latest articles

Disneyland staff rue less wages

About 10,000 union workers at Disneyland—the first of 12 parks created around the globe—are threatening to strike over wages and what they say are...

Bangladesh announces curfew as unrest continues

Authorities in Bangladesh have enforced a nationwide curfew following further riots in Dhaka, where an additional 35 people have been killed. The violence erupted...

Global services affected after Microsoft outage

Businesses and services worldwide are gradually recovering from a significant IT outage that disrupted computer systems for hours on Thursday and Friday. The outage,...

Violence against women now all time high in Brazil

Brazil has experienced unprecedented levels of rape and other forms of gender-based violence for the second consecutive year, amid growing concerns about rightwing attempts...

Related articles