Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making waves in the creative industries, and music is no exception. From composing symphonies to crafting catchy pop tunes, AI-generated music is capable of producing a wide array of musical works. However, the rise of AI-generated music has also raised a chorus of legal questions and concerns. For example, in the viral Drake vs Kendrick Lamar rap beef, Drake opted for creating a verse using an AI-generated 2Pac voice, resulting in huge backlash online. Let’s tune into this legal symphony to understand the complexities and nuances around AI-generated music law.

What is AI-Generated Music?

AI-generated music is music that has been composed, performed, or produced, either partially or entirely, by artificial intelligence algorithms. These algorithms can be trained on vast datasets of existing music to learn patterns, styles, and structures, which they then use to create original compositions or mimic the style of specific artists.

The Legal Landscape: Issues and Considerations

The UK legal framework surrounding AI-generated music is still evolving, and there are several key areas where the law is being tested and refined:

  1. Infringement and Copyright:

One of the most pressing legal issues is the potential for AI-generated music to infringe on existing copyrights. If an AI algorithm is trained on copyrighted music, the generated output might be considered a derivative work, potentially infringing on the original copyright holder’s rights. This raises questions about the extent to which AI can legally utilise existing works for training and creation.

  1. Copyright for AI-Generated Content:

Another complex issue is whether AI-generated music can be protected by copyright. Under UK law, copyright generally vests in the creator of a work. However, since AI lacks legal personhood, it’s unclear who would hold the copyright for AI-generated music. Some argue it should be the AI’s owner or developer, while others suggest it should be considered a work of joint authorship between the AI and its human collaborators.

  1. Ownership of AI-Generated Music:

The ownership of AI-generated music is closely linked to copyright. If the AI-generated music is considered copyrightable, then the owner of the copyright would likely hold ownership of the music itself. However, if the music is not considered copyrightable, the ownership might be determined by contracts or agreements between the parties involved in the AI’s creation and use.

  1. Licensing and Commercial Use:

The licensing and commercial use of AI-generated music also present challenges. If the music is subject to copyright, the copyright holder would need to authorise its use through licensing agreements. However, the lack of clear ownership and copyright protection can create uncertainty for those seeking to use AI-generated music commercially.

Current Legal Framework and Proposed Reforms

The UK currently lacks specific laws directly addressing AI-generated music. However, existing copyright and intellectual property laws provide some guidance. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) covers the protection of original musical works, regardless of their creation method. Additionally, the concept of “computer-generated works” in the CDPA could potentially apply to AI-generated music, but its interpretation remains unclear.

There have been calls for legal reforms to address the unique challenges posed by AI-generated music. Some proposals include:

  • Clarifying copyright ownership: establishing clear guidelines on who holds copyright for AI-generated music, whether it be the AI developer, user, or a combination of both.
  • Defining fair use: creating clear boundaries for the fair use of copyrighted music in AI training and creation, balancing the interests of copyright holders and AI developers.
  • Introducing specific licensing frameworks: developing licensing models that cater to the unique nature of AI-generated music, ensuring fair compensation for both AI developers and copyright holders of the training data.
  • Addressing ethical concerns: establishing guidelines and regulations to prevent the misuse of AI-generated music, such as creating deepfakes or misleading listeners about the origin of the music.

Harmonizing Law and Technology

As AI continues to evolve and its impact on music grows, the legal landscape will need to adapt to accommodate this new creative force. Striking a balance between protecting copyright holders, fostering innovation in AI music, and ensuring fair compensation for all involved will be crucial. The UK is at the forefront of these legal discussions, and the decisions made here could set a precedent for other jurisdictions grappling with similar challenges.

By navigating the legal complexities surrounding AI-generated music, the UK can create a harmonious environment where both technology and creativity can flourish. As the legal symphony continues to evolve, it’s essential to stay tuned to the latest developments and ensure that the law keeps pace with the ever-changing rhythm of AI.

Table of content

Recent Posts