AI Song Generators Sued for Copyright Infringement

Suno and Udio: the top AI song generators sued by the music industry for sourcing potentially copyrighted content, how should the industry and users react?
AI Song Generators Sued for Copyright Infringement
Mark Derho for Resident

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Calls this a Landmark Case for Responsible AI

The music industry is in turmoil once again as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and top music labels files landmark lawsuits against AI music-generating companies, Suno AI and Udio, in Boston and New York Federal Courts, respectively.

The RIAA's press release on June 24, 2024, highlights the gravity of these cases, emphasizing the need for responsible AI development and the protection of artists' rights. The Suno and Udio complaints provide detailed accusations against these companies for allegedly infringing on copyrighted material.

RIAA's Official Statement, Press Release, and Complaint

The RIAA's official statement underscores their vision of collaboration with responsible AI developers while condemning unlicensed services like Suno and Udio.

According to the statement, these companies "exploit artists' work without consent or compensation", thus undermining genuinely innovative AI advancements.

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.

Mitch Glazier, RIAA Chairman and CEO

The Suno complaint is available here, and the Udio complaint is available here.

Industry Reactions and Ethical Implications

AP News Coverage: AI Song Generators Sued

According to AP News, Suno AI's CEO, Mikey Shulman, defends his company's technology, stating, “The technology is designed to generate completely new outputs, not to memorize and regurgitate pre-existing content” and doesn’t allow users to reference specific artists.

NBC News Now: AI Song Generators Sued

NBC News reports on the collective action of the world's largest record labels against Suno and Udio, highlighting the broader context of generative AI's impact on the music industry. This legal confrontation signifies a crucial moment as AI technology continues to evolve and infiltrate creative domains.

Fortune's Perspective: AI Song Generators Sued

An article from Fortune provides a deeper insight, describing the lawsuits as pivotal in setting new precedents for the GenAI era. The RIAA's history of successful litigation, including cases against Napster and Spotify, underscores their readiness to establish legal frameworks for emerging technologies.

The ethical principle of consent is central to this debate, with former RIAA executive Neil Turkewitz advocating for AI models built on consensual and fair use of data.

Turkewitz has repeatedly questioned, “If generative AI is the platform of the future, do we want it to be built on a foundation of theft and nonconsensual use?”

According to Fortune, Shulman said in a statement issued in response to the RIAA suit that its AI model produced “transformative” works and noted that the company does not allow users to prompt the model with an artist’s name.

The RIAA claimed this guardrail was easily overcome by simply adding spaces between the letters in a name.

Author's Note

I tested Suno by adding spaces between the letters in a famous artist's name on three occasions, and the result was music that did not replicate the original artist.

Happy Song About Dancing Puppies - Made with Suno

I made this song for fun using Suno for the music and Canva for the video.

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Personal Reflection: I Can Make Music with AI for Free Even with a Disability

As someone who enjoys using Suno and Udio to create fun, free music, I find these developments interesting and concerning. The lawsuits against these AI music generators bring to light potentially significant ethical and legal challenges.

On one hand, I appreciate the creativity and accessibility these tools offer. On the other hand, it is important to protect artists' rights.

I tried unsuccessfully to learn to play guitar.

As someone with a physical disability in my left hand - my thumb has no knuckle joint from birth - playing the guitar was always a challenge I couldn't quite overcome, despite efforts.

This limitation, however, didn't stifle my interest in making music. Now, with the help of AI tools like Suno, I can make music for videos, client websites, and various media projects.

These technologies have opened up a world of possibilities, allowing me to produce and enjoy music in ways I never thought possible. AI has become not just a tool, it's a creative outlet that empowers me to simply make music, all while having fun in the process.

Suno AI: The World Where Everyone Could Be a Musician
Hi, AI! News and Insights

Suno AI CEO Mikey Shulman for the Defense

Suno AI: Bridging the Gap in Music Creation

The following quotes are from the article "Suno CEO: Redefining Music Creation Through Generative AI,", in which WebProOne summarizes that at the heart of Suno AI’s mission is a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

"We’re flipping the script. With Suno AI, everyone has the power to bring their musical visions to life. Most people interact with music only passively, but what about those who yearn to create, to express themselves through music? Suno AI is here to bridge that gap, unlocking the latent creativity within each of us.”

Mikey Shulman, CEO of Suno AI

For too long, music creation has been confined to the realm of experts and aficionados. We’re flipping the script. With Suno AI, everyone has the power to bring their musical visions to life. Suno AI song generator empowers anyone to craft captivating compositions, regardless of their musical background or technical proficiency.

Mikey Shulman, CEO of Suno AI

The Nature of Creativity and Originality

Mikey Shulman defends Suno AI’s approach, stating that the platform does not regurgitate pre-existing content but creates new outputs.

This raises questions about the nature of creativity and originality in the AI age. Despite these claims, the RIAA claims to have presented evidence suggesting that Suno and Udio can mimic specific artists, highlighting the thin line between inspiration and infringement.

Shulman emphasized, “Our AI model produces ‘transformative’ works and does not allow users to prompt the model with an artist’s name.

Mikey Shulman, CEO of Suno AI

Copyright and the Role of Consent

In summary, former RIAA CEO Neil Turkewitz has repeatedly stated the core issue evolves around consent. In an industry built on creativity and intellectual property, the use of artists' work in training AI models must be transparent and consensual.

“Would we rather put consent at the heart of the business models on which the AI age is being constructed?”

Former RIAA CEO Neil Turkewitz

The Future of AI Song Generators and Music

This legal battle will impact the future of AI in the music industry, but it will not stop the train. As AI continues to advance, the ideal would be to find a balance between innovation and respect for original creators. These cases will set important precedents, potentially influencing how AI technologies are developed and regulated moving forward.

The lawsuits against Suno AI and Udio mark a critical intersection of AI and the music industry. While the outcomes remain uncertain, the emphasis on ethical AI development and the protection of artist.

About the Author

Mark Derho is a seasoned expert in the Internet industry with over 25 years of experience in NYC's software development, digital marketing, and advertising sectors. A certified Google Partner, Mark specializes in content creation, AI chatbot development, open-source software, modern website design, and SEO/SEM marketing. He leads PR Website Agency and lives in Puerto Rico with his dog, Luno.

1. RIAA Press Release. “Record Companies Bring Landmark Cases for Responsible AI Against Suno and Udio in Boston and New York Federal Courts, Respectively.” June 24, 2024.

2. AP News. “Music record labels sue AI song-generators Suno and Udio for copyright infringement.” June 24, 2024.

3. NBC News Now. “Record labels are suing AI music generators for copyright infringement.” June 24, 2024.

4. Fortune. “RIAA lawsuit against Suno and Udio raises ethical and legal questions about AI and consent.” June 25, 2024.

5. RIAA Complaint Documents. “Suno AI and Udio Complaints.” June 24, 2024.

6. WebProOne. "Suno CEO: Redefining Music Creation Through Generative AI."  March 15, 2024.

6. Hi, AI! News and Insights. Image fair use:

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