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Anthropic AI is being sued by Universal Music Group for copyright infringement.

Universal Music Group, Concord Publishing, and ABKCO Music & Records have jointly accused Anthropic, an AI startup, of engaging in unauthorized copying and dissemination of substantial copyrighted content.

On October 18, a lawsuit was lodged against Anthropic by Universal Music Group (UMG), Concord Publishing, and ABKCO Music & Records. They allege that Anthropic unlawfully duplicated and widely disseminated copyrighted works, encompassing the lyrics of numerous musical compositions owned or controlled by the publishers.

The suit asserts that Anthropic’s utilization of these works constitutes extensive and systematic infringement, emphasizing that the defendant cannot use copyrighted materials to build a business without proper rights. This fundamental copyright principle, established as early as the Statute of Anne in 1710, has been consistently upheld throughout the centuries, irrespective of attempts to cloak infringement under the label of “AI.”

The lawsuit further contends that Anthropic’s AI, known as Claude, has the capacity to generate exact or nearly indistinguishable duplicates of songs like “What a Wonderful World,” “Gimme Shelter,” “American Pie,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Every Breath You Take,” and more than 500 additional compositions.

To substantiate their claims, the plaintiffs presented evidence of Claude delivering near-verbatim reproductions of UMG’s song “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. They seek an injunction to cease the alleged infringement and demand financial restitution.

This case is one among many mounting legal challenges against prominent AI developers based on accusations of copyright violations. OpenAI, the creator of AI chatbot ChatGPT, has also faced litigation from the Author’s Guild on similar grounds. Meanwhile, Meta is currently entangled in a lawsuit initiated by comedian and author Sarah Silverman, among others, over copyright issues. Google is embroiled in its own legal battle concerning data scraping practices for AI training.

Universal Music Group has been particularly diligent in safeguarding its catalog and the rights of its artists against AI-related copyright infractions. On October 18, UMG formed a strategic alliance with BandLab Technologies, focusing on the ethical use of AI to protect the rights of artists and songwriters.

Over the summer, UMG and Google were reportedly in discussions to create a tool that would enable the legal generation of AI-generated tracks featuring artists’ likenesses.

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