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Record Companies Bring Landmark Cases for Responsible AI Against Suno and Udio

The Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA) has announced the filing of two landmark copyright infringement cases aimed at protecting the rights of artists, songwriters, and rightsholders. These cases target the unlicensed use of copyrighted sound recordings by the AI music generation services Suno and Udio.

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The first case, against Suno, Inc., the developer of Suno AI, was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The second case, against Uncharted Labs, Inc., the developer of Udio AI, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs in these cases include major music companies such as Sony Music Entertainment, UMG Recordings, Inc., and Warner Records, Inc., representing a wide range of artists and genres.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier emphasized the music community’s willingness to embrace AI, highlighting ongoing partnerships with responsible developers to create sustainable AI tools that prioritize human creativity. Glazier stated, “Unlicensed services like Suno and Udio set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI by exploiting artists’ work without consent or compensation.”

RIAA Chief Legal Officer Ken Doroshow added, “These are straightforward cases of copyright infringement. Suno and Udio are attempting to hide the full scope of their infringement rather than putting their services on a sound and lawful footing. These lawsuits are necessary to enforce the basic rules for responsible, ethical, and lawful development of generative AI systems.”

The lawsuits seek declarations that Suno and Udio have infringed on copyrighted sound recordings, injunctions to prevent further infringement, and damages for past infringements. The cases involve the unlicensed copying of plaintiffs’ sound recordings on a massive scale to train AI models, which then generate outputs imitating genuine human sound recordings.

Key Allegations

The complaints detail the defendants’ unlicensed copying of plaintiffs’ sound recordings for the development and operation of their AI services. These include:

  1. Massive Copying for AI Training: Both Suno and Udio have copied decades’ worth of the world’s most popular sound recordings to train their AI models. This process involved ingesting these copies to generate machine outputs that imitate human recordings.
  2. Market Saturation with AI-Generated Content: The synthetic musical outputs from these services could saturate the market, directly competing with and devaluing genuine sound recordings.
  3. Deliberate Evasion and Willful Infringement: Suno and Udio have been deliberately evasive about the extent of their copying. Honest disclosure would reveal willful copyright infringement on a massive scale.
  4. Erosion of Copyright Value: The unauthorized copying by these services erodes the value and integrity of copyrighted sound recordings, potentially overrunning the market with AI-generated music and substituting human-created work.
  5. Invalid Fair Use Defense: The services cannot claim fair use to avoid liability. Fair use permits unlicensed use of copyrighted works in certain, limited circumstances, but these services offer imitative machine-generated music, not human creativity or expression.
  6. Advancement by Rights Infringement: Since their launch, both services have ignored the rights of copyright owners in a rush to become dominant in the AI music generation market. Such practices cannot be allowed to continue.

The cases against Suno and Udio mark a significant step in ensuring that AI developers work responsibly and ethically, respecting the rights of artists and creators. The RIAA’s actions underscore the necessity of upholding copyright laws to protect human creativity and the integrity of the music industry.

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