Sony Music has taken action to warn companies against misuse of copyrighted material for artificial intelligence (AI) related purposes.

More than 700 companies approached

On May 16, a letter that Sony sent to more than 700 companies was revealed. In this letter, Sony explicitly prohibits them from using their music for the training, development or commercialization of AI systems. Sony also opts out of any text and data mining of their content.

“This letter is to directly inform you and reiterate that Sony’s labels expressly prohibit any use of their content,” the letter said. Sony and the artists it represents recognize the significant potential and advancement of AI. However, unauthorized use of their materials in the training, development, or commercialization of AI systems deprives Sony of control and proper compensation.

Sony represents some of today’s biggest music artists, including Beyoncé, Adele and Harry Styles. The letter was sent to developers of AI technology, such as OpenAI, Microsoft and Google, and providers of music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Applying “best practices”

Sony urges companies to adopt “best practices” to protect artists and songwriters and warns against unauthorized scraping and mining of their data. In addition, Sony is asking streaming services to update their terms of service to emphasize the ban on data mining and training with their content.

The developers were advised that due to the nature of their activities and the published information about their AI systems, Sony has reason to believe that they may have already made unauthorized use of Sony content for the training, development or commercialization of AI systems. Sony made it clear that the use of automated analytical techniques aimed at analyzing text and data in digital form to generate information, including patterns, trends and correlations, is prohibited.

One week to provide details

The developers were given until the following week to provide details of all content used for their models. According to reports, Sony executives are concerned that large amounts of the company’s music have already been “ripped off” and want to provide clarity on the first steps of possible legal proceedings.

The music industry is active in the fight against AI technologies that abuse artists or copyrighted content. However, this problem is not just limited to the music industry. Writers, actors, and other creatives who regularly publish work have already filed lawsuits or formed coalitions against major AI developers to prevent unauthorized use of their content.


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