Music Giants Sue AI Startup Anthropic for Copyright Infringement over Song Lyrics

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Giant music publishers including Universal Music have taken legal action against artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, accusing it of unlawfully using copyrighted song lyrics from artists ranging from Beyonce to Don McLean to enhance its chatbot technology.

The Guardian reports that music industry powerhouses such as Universal Music, ABKCO, and Concord Publishing have filed a lawsuit against Anthropic, a prominent AI startup. The suit, filed in a Tennessee federal court, accuses Anthropic of illicitly utilizing a vast array of copyrighted song lyrics to refine and train its chatbot, Claude.

Anthropic’s Claude is a sophisticated chatbot, trained through the assimilation of massive quantities of text sourced from the internet. The lawsuit alleges that the AI company has infringed upon the copyrights of the music publishers by incorporating the lyrics of over 500 distinct songs without obtaining requisite permissions.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – MAY 12: Singer & songwriter Don McLean performs at the Ryman Auditorium on May 12, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

According to the Guardian:

The lawsuit said Anthropic violates the publishers’ rights through its use of lyrics from at least 500 songs ranging from the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows and the Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk and Beyoncé’s Halo.

The music publishers maintain that Claude, in its operational capacity, unlawfully reproduces copyrighted lyrics in response to various user prompts. This reproduction is not limited to explicit requests for lyrics but extends to a broader range of prompts, such as requests to craft songs or poetry in the style of specific artists or songwriters.

Some prompts that return copyrighted  lyrics include “requests to write a song about a certain topic, provide chord progressions for a given musical composition, or write poetry or short fiction in the style of a certain artist or songwriter.”

The lawsuit alleges that when asked to write a song about the death of rock pioneer Buddy Holly, Claude provided lyrics from Don McLean’s “American Pie” that were relevant.

The publishers’ attorney, Matt Oppenheim, underscored the legal standpoint, stating it was “well-established by copyright law that an entity cannot reproduce, distribute, and display someone else’s copyrighted works to build its own business unless it secures permission from rights holders.”

Breitbart News previously reported on Amazon making a major investment in Anthropic:

Amazon and Anthropic revealed the deal on Monday, announcing that it is part of a broader collaboration between the two companies in order to develop foundation models that support generative AI systems, according to a report by ABC News.

Foundation models, also known as large language models, are technologies that function as platforms for AI applications. They are trained by using vast pools of online information, such as blog posts, digital books, articles, and music — to generate text, images, and video content that appears to have been created by a human.

The agreement also reportedly makes Amazon the AI startup’s primary cloud computing service. Anthropic will also be able to use the online retail giant’s custom chips in order to train and deploy its generative AI systems.

Read more at the Guardian here.


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