Sony Music warns tech companies about ‘unauthorized’ use of their content to train AI

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 technology companies and music streaming services warning them not to use their music to train AI without explicit permission. The letter, which was obtained by TechCrunch, says Sony Music has “reason to believe” that the letter’s recipients “may have already made unauthorized uses” of its content.

Sony Music said that while it recognizes the “significant potential” of AI, “unauthorized use of SMG content in the training, development or marketing of AI systems” deprives it and its artists of control and “adequate compensation.”

The company’s artist portfolio includes numerous notable artists such as Harry Styles, Beyoncé, Adele and Celine Dion.

Sony Music seeks to protect its intellectual property, including audio and audiovisual recordings, covers, metadata, lyrics and more.

“We support artists and songwriters who take the lead in adopting new technologies in support of their art,” Sony Music said in a statement. “The evolution of technology has often changed the course of the creative industries. AI is likely to continue that long-standing trend. However, such innovation must ensure that the rights of songwriters and recording artists, including copyright, are respected.”

The letter asks recipients to detail which of Sony Music’s songs were used to train artificial intelligence systems, how the songs were accessed, how many copies were made and whether copies still exist, and why copies existed in the first place.

Sony Music has given the letter’s recipients a deadline to respond, noting that it will enforce its copyrights to the “full extent permitted by applicable law in all jurisdictions.”

The move comes as copyright infringement is becoming a major issue with the rise of generative AI. Streaming services like Spotify are inundated with AI-generated music. Even artists are dabbling in AI, as Drake faced criticism after dissing late rapper Tupac earlier this month.

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