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Music publishers sue AI startup Anthropic over copyright infringement

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Music publishers sue AI startup Anthropic over copyright infringement

Universal Music Group (UMG), Concord Publishing, and ABKCO Music & Records have launched a lawsuit against Anthropic, accusing them of committing direct, vicarious, and contributory copyright infringement when training its AI chatbot, Claude.

The lawsuit, filed in the Nashville Division of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on October 18, claims that Anthropic "unlawfully" copied and disseminated "vast amounts of copyrighted works - including the lyrics to myriad musical compositions" that are owned or controlled by the publishers.

It described Anthropic's use of the works as "widespread and systematic infringement" and held that the defendant lacked the necessary authorization to copy, distribute, and exhibit works protected by copyright in order to establish a business. The lawsuit also accuses Anthropic of removing the copyright management information utilized by the publishers in association with the works.

“This foundational rule of copyright law dates all the way back to the Statute of Anne in 1710, and it has been applied time and time again to numerous infringing technological developments in the centuries since. That principle does not fall away simply because a company adorns its infringement with the words ‘AI.‘”

According to the lawsuit, Anthropic’s AI assistant Claude is able to produce exact or nearly exact duplicates of songs like "Every Breath You Take," "What a Wonderful World," "Gimme Shelter," "American Pie," "Sweet Home Alabama," and at least 500 more.

In this case, the publishers provided examples of Claude performing a nearly word-for-word copy of UMG's song "I Will Survive" popularized by Gloria Gaynor among others.

The claimants have petitioned the court to stop the alleged infringement and award up to USD 87.5 million in monetary damages.

The case joins the many popping up against major AI developers on the grounds of copyright infringement.

Recently, OpenAI, the developer of AI chatbot ChatGPT, was sued by the Author’s Guild for similar reasons. Meta is currently facing a lawsuit from comedian and author Sarah Silverman and others for copyright issues.

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

Press contact Managing Partner (+65) 6223 2249

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