Mariah Carey

Major music labels have filed lawsuits against artificial intelligence song-generating companies Suno and Udio, alleging copyright infringement. The labels claim that these AI startups are using the recorded works of artists like Chuck Berry and Mariah Carey without permission.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced the lawsuits on Monday. They were filed by labels including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records.

One case was filed in federal court in Boston against Suno AI, and the other in New York against Uncharted Labs, the developer of Udio AI.

Suno AI CEO Mikey Shulman stated in an email that their 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.

Shulman said his Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup attempted to explain this to the labels, but “instead of entertaining a good faith discussion, they’ve reverted to their old lawyer-led playbook.”

Udio did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier stated in a written statement that the music industry is already collaborating with responsible AI developers, but “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.”

AI has been a significant topic of conversation in the music industry. There are debates about the creative potential of this new technology and concerns about its legal implications. In March, Tennessee became the first U.S. state to enact legislation protecting songwriters, performers, and other music industry professionals from the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Supporters said the law aims to ensure that AI tools cannot replicate an artist’s voice without their consent.

The following month, over 200 artists signed a petition submitted by the Artist Rights Alliance non-profit. The petition called on tech companies, developers, platforms, and digital music services to stop using AI in a way that infringes upon and devalues the rights of human artists.