Sony Music warns global tech and streaming companies over use of artificial intelligence by its artists

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Sony Music has issued warning letters to more than 700 artificial intelligence developers and music streaming services around the world, the latest blow in the music industry’s crackdown on tech conglomerates exploiting artists.

The Sony Music letter, seen by the Financial Times, explicitly bans AI developers from using its music – which includes artists such as Harry Styles, Adele and Beyoncé – and has chosen not to put any text on any of its content. and data exploration.

According to people familiar with the matter, Sony Music is sending the letter to companies developing artificial intelligence systems such as OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, Suno and Udio.

The world’s second-largest music group has also sent separate letters to streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple, asking them to adopt “best practice” measures to protect artists, songwriters and their music from unauthorized use by artificial intelligence developers. Scraping, mining and training with or without consent. It has asked them to update their terms of service to explicitly disallow mining and training on their content.

Sony Music declined further comment.

The letter, which will be sent to tech companies around the world this week, marks a further step in the music group’s efforts to prevent tech companies from using melodies, lyrics and images of copyrighted songs and artists to make new versions or train systems to create their own music .

The letter said Sony Music and its artists “recognize the tremendous potential and advancement of artificial intelligence,” but added that “unauthorized use…” . .The training, development or commercialization of artificial intelligence systems deprives [Sony] control and appropriate compensation”.

It said: “This letter is intended to directly remind you and reiterate that [Sony’s labels] Any use is expressly prohibited [their] content.

Executives at the New York-based group are concerned their music has been misappropriated and want a clear legal position that would be the first step in taking action against developers of artificial intelligence systems it believes exploit its technology. They believe that Sony Music is willing to conduct music licensing transactions with artificial intelligence developers, but hopes to reach a fair price for this.

“Due to the nature of your operations and the published information about your artificial intelligence systems, we have reason to believe that you and/or your affiliates may have made unauthorized uses,” the letter reads. [of Sony content] Relating to the training, development or commercialization of artificial intelligence systems.

Sony Music has given developers until next week to provide details of all content used.

The letter also reflects concerns about the fragmented approach to regulating artificial intelligence around the world. Regulation of artificial intelligence varies widely around the world, with some regions developing new rules and legal frameworks to cover the training and use of such systems, but others leaving it to creative industry companies to sort out their relationships with developers.

In many countries around the world, especially in the European Union, copyright owners are advised to publicly state that the content cannot be used for data mining and training for artificial intelligence.

The letter stated that the ban includes the use of any robot, spider, scraper or automated program, tool, algorithm, code, process or method, as well as any “purpose designed to analyze text and data in digital form to generate information (including patterns)” automatic analysis technology”. , trends and correlations”.

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