Big music labels allege that AI start-ups “spit out” copyrighted music and want them gone

Two new artificial intelligence (AI) startups are being sued by big music labels over copyright infringement.

Uncharted Labs, (creator of Udio) and Suno AI are being sued by prominent music labels like Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records for abusing copyright laws to create AI-generated tunes.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which announced the lawsuits, said in a statement that two separate lawsuits surrounding copyright infringement based on mass infringement of copyrighted materials copied and exploited without consent had been brought against two multi-million dollar services, Suno and Udio.

Udio and Suno are platforms used by hundreds of thousands to create music with the help of AI.

Suno claims to democratize music creation by providing a space “where anyone can create great music.” The team behind Suno is composed of musicians and AI experts hailing from Cambridge, Massachusetts. They are also the “proud alumni” of various famous tech companies, including Meta, TikTok, and Kensho.

Udio is a popular generative AI platform that allows users to create their own tunes using natural language prompts. The company also claims to democratize music production by enabling “anyone to create extraordinary music.” Udio was founded by a team of AI researchers and technologists. It claims to be “deeply committed” to supporting and empowering artists. Udio even says that it works alongside some of the “most brilliant and creative artists” in the industry.

Despite these positive and emphatic declarations, many major music labels have big issues with these start-ups and the way they seemingly “spit out” music created off the back of legitimate copyrighted tracks.

In the Suno and Udio case documents, the music labels claim that their use of AI “is far from transformative, as there is no functional purpose for…AI model(s) to ingest the Copyrighted Recordings other than to spit out new, competing music files.”

The plaintiffs also allege Suno and Udio have trained their AI models on copyrighted content without permission.

Both lawsuits claim Suno and Udio train their models from “copyrighted sound recordings en masse” and ingest them into their AI models.

The plaintiffs allege that Udio and Suno’s products only work by stealing large amounts of sound recordings from artists across genres, styles, and eras. This material is copyrighted and owned or controlled by these large music labels, the lawsuit reads.

In essence, the lawsuits claim that if both companies had made legitimate efforts to avoid copying these labels' works, then both platforms wouldn’t be capable of producing the “convincing imitations” of music at the quality that both companies claim.

“The music community has embraced AI, and we are already partnering and collaborating with responsible developers to build sustainable AI tools centered on human creativity that put artists and songwriters in charge,” said RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier.

“But we can only succeed if developers are willing to work together with us. Unlicensed services like Suno and Udio that claim it’s ‘fair’ to copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all,” Glazier concluded.

The impacted music labels seek the same penalty for both AI music generation platforms. The plaintiffs demand a direct admission of copyright infringement, “equitable relief,” which involves anyone in connection with both companies ceasing this kind of unlawful activity, paying for the plaintiff's legal fees, and, finally, paying $150,000 for all infringed works generated by both platforms.

Cybernews has reached out to Suno and Udio for comment.