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Universal Music Group joins forces to defend artists’ rights from AI abuses

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Embarking on a novel venture, Universal Music Group and BandLab Technologies forge a strategic alliance, placing a keen emphasis on ethical AI application to safeguard the rights of artists and songwriters.

Unveiling this collaboration on October 18, Universal Music Group (UMG) and the social music creation platform, BandLab Technologies, aim to advocate responsible practices in the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) within the music industry. The crux of the partnership lies in ensuring the “ethical use of AI,” with a primary objective of preserving the rights of artists and songwriters. Michael Nash, UMG’s Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, emphasized the timeliness of this initiative, asserting, “This is more important than ever right now as AI assumes an increasingly prominent place in the evolution of music creation tools.” Nash further highlighted that, beyond protecting artists’ rights, the collaboration intends to forge responsible methodologies for employing AI in creative processes, with a commitment to “champion human creativity and culture.”

Echoing a similar sentiment, the CEO of the Recording Academy, the organization behind the prestigious Grammy Awards, underscored in an interview with Cointelegraph that AI could function as an “amplifier” of human creativity.

This isn’t Universal Music Group’s inaugural foray into grappling with AI-related challenges. Reports in August indicated discussions between UMG and Google concerning the combatting of AI deep fakes through a proposed tool facilitating the lawful creation of AI tracks using artists’ likenesses. Antecedent to these discussions, YouTube unveiled its set of principles for collaborative endeavors with the music industry on AI technology. YouTube disclosed engagements with major music industry stakeholders like UMG to evolve these principles, introducing the “Music AI Incubator” as one outcome.

The labyrinth of copyright infringement pertaining to AI has extended its tendrils even into legal arenas. In a noteworthy event in August 2023, a United States judge refused copyright recognition for AI-generated art.

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