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The music industry’s lobbying arm claims that services using machine learning to alter tracks are infringing on artists’ rights. As first reported by TorrentFreak, the Recording Industry Association of America listed AI-powered music websites that make remixes, improve homemade tracks, or strip songs of vocals or instrumentals harm artists, in a response to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative.
Artists working within all kinds of media have raised concerns in recent years—and increasingly, with the rising popularity of text-to-image generators like DALL-E—about whether AI-generated art infringes on individuals’ copyright. Most AI content generators depend on datasets that are filled with original artworks, texts, or audio, and use those original works without the owners’ permission. “There are online services that, purportedly using artificial intelligence (AI), extract, or rather, copy, the vocals, instrumentals, or some portion of the instrumentals (a music stem) from a sound recording, and/or generate, master or remix a recording to be very similar to or almost as good as reference tracks by selected, well known sound recording artists,” the RIAA wrote in its submission. “To the extent these services, or their partners, are training their AI models using our members’ music, that use is unauthorized and infringes our members’ rights by making unauthorized copies of our members works. In any event, the files these services disseminate are either unauthorized copies or unauthorized derivative works of our members’ music.” The RIAA specifically names Acapella-extractor and Remove-Vocals, which remove the instrumentals or the vocals from songs, respectively, and Songmastr, which claims to “make your songs (almost) as good as” something made by a professional artist, by using their music as a reference.The RIAA has a long history of aggressively pursuing legal action for copyright infringement, music piracy, and peer-to-peer file sharing. Most recently, it went after NFT platform HitPiece with a demand letter, claiming that selling music as NFTs without the artists’ approval infringed on their rights. This article was updated to clarify that HitPiece received a demand letter from the RIAA.