- 19 Oct 23
Three major music publishers are suing Anthropic for the use of copyrighted lyrics in the training of Anthropic's AI lyric generating chatbot, Claude.
Music publishers Universal Music, ABKCO, and Concord Publishing sued artificial intelligence company Anthropic, in a Tennessee federal court on Wednesday. The case was in order to 'address the systematic and widespread infringement' of the music publishers copyrighted song lyrics by the AI platform Anthropic.
The plaintiffs asserted that Anthopic was misusing an "innumerable" amount of copyrighted song lyrics to train its chatbot 'Claude'.
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' to Maroon 5's 'Moves like Jagger' citing that the chatbot provides responses that contain 'all or significant portions' of these lyrics.
Representatives for Anthropic have yet to respond for a request for comment.
This is not the first time the AI has caused waves in the music industry, with Google and Universal engaging in talks on how to license AI generated music in August of this year. These meetings came about after an AI generated song designed to sound like Canadian musicians Drake and the Weekend called 'Heart on my Sleeve', went viral online, amassing over 15 million views on Tiktok alone.
Many copyright owners, including individual authors and visual artists, have sued tech companies such as Meta Platforms META and Microsoft-backed OpenAI over the use of their work to train generative AI systems.
The music publishers' lawsuit appears is the first case of its kind against Anthropic, which has drawn financial backing from Google, Amazon, and former cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.
The music publishers maintain that is is obvious that the AI chatbot makes use of copyrighted lyrics in its training corpus as when a user asks Claude, “What are the lyrics to You Can’t Always Get What You Want?" by the Rolling Stones, the chatbot provides a response that is 'near verbatim'.
The publishers assert that by using copyrighted lyrics as training material during the ingestion process, Anthropic are violating copyright law.
Furthermore the publishers maintain that when Claude was given a topic to generate lyrics on, it draws lyrics from a song on the same topic.
For example when asked to write a song about the death of rock star Buddy Holly, Claude would provide relevant lyrics from Don McLean's American Pie.
Similarly, the publishers maintain that Claude uses these copyrighted lyrics not only in response to specific requests for those lyrics or when asked for lyrics on the same topic, but also in requests for poems or pieces of fiction created in the style of artists licensed with the music publishers. The case used an example where they asked the AI chat bot to write a short piece of fiction created in the style of Louis Armstrong'.
All of this is cited as proof that Anthropic make use of copyrighted song lyrics as part its training of Claude.
The publishers have asked the court for monetary damages and an order to stop the alleged infringement. The concern over AI technology has been described as being one of the music industry’s biggest copyright battles since the 2001 A&M Records versus Napster Lawsuit, where the tech start up Napster was sued for facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
Universal Music, one of the three plaintiffs who filed the suit, announced on Wednesday, a partnership with music platform BandLab to approach copyrights “ethically” for use in AI, with proper copyrights and permission.