Saturday, May 25, 2024

Sony Music warns tech companies against AI uses of its content – 9to5Mac

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Artificial intelligence buzz is all over the news, but for all the technology’s potential, a key piece of the AI story that’s not covered enough is tech companies’ need for existing content to train AI models on—and sometimes using that content without its owners’ consent.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Sony Music Group is putting those companies on notice with a firm warning against unauthorized use of its content.

Putting AI and music streaming companies on notice

Per Ashley Carman and Lucas Shaw at Bloomberg:

Sony Music Group, one of the world’s biggest record labels, warned artificial intelligence companies and music streaming platforms not to use the company’s content without explicit permission.

Sony, whose artists include Lil Nas X and Celine Dion, sent letters to more than 700 companies in an effort to protect its intellectual property, which includes album cover art, metadata, musical compositions and lyrics, from being used for training AI models.

The list of 700 companies was not released, but it would not at all be a surprise to find that Apple was one of the recipients.

Apple fits the bill both as an AI company and a music streaming platform. As a result, it’s in the unique position to have both the means and the incentive to train its AI models on content in the Apple Music library. Unless the two companies have an explicit deal that allows such behavior, though, Sony is making clear that AI modeling is not part of its existing music licensing deals.

9to5Mac’s Take

As impressive as AI tech can be, and transformative for users’ lives and work, the legal system in the US is playing catch up when it comes to outlining what is and isn’t permissible for tech companies.

As the article states, the EU has encouraged copyright owners to make public statements forbidding the unauthorized use of its content for AI purposes. That’s what Sony is doing here, and I expect we’ll see similar stories with other companies moving forward.

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