UMG, which controls one-third of the global music market, shared serious concerns over the ability of artificial intelligence to infringe upon existing copyrighted material.

Universal Music Group has serious concerns about allowing artificial intelligence to hone its music-making abilities using the label’s copyrights. 

The major label, which controls roughly one-third of the global music market today, has issued a condemnatory request to its streaming partners urging the platforms to block AI programs from being able to leverage their catalog for training purposes, Financial Times reports.

“We have become aware that certain AI systems might have been trained on copyrighted content without obtaining the required consents from, or paying compensation to, the rights holders who own or produce the content,” representatives of Universal Music Group shared in an email, according to the report. “We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists.”

Because generative AI programs leverage an understanding of existing works, including melodies, tones and images in order to generate new music, there are deep concerns about whether these varying degrees of derivative works are truly “original.” 

Evidently the advent of generative music technologies have posed a challenge to the major label when it comes to copyright protection and enforcement. One unnamed source in the report notes that such technologies have caused the label to begin issuing an influx of takedown requests “left and right.”

“We have a moral and commercial responsibility to our artists to work to prevent the unauthorized use of their music and to stop platforms from ingesting content that violates the rights of artists and other creators,” a UMG spokesperson said in a statement, per Financial Times. “We expect our platform partners will want to prevent their services from being used in ways that harm artists.”

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