Home Tech Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Stevie Wonder and more musicians demand protection against AI

Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Stevie Wonder and more musicians demand protection against AI

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Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Stevie Wonder and more musicians demand protection against AI

A group of more than 200 high-profile musicians have signed an open letter calling for protection against the predatory use of artificial intelligence that mimics the likenesses, voices and sounds of human performers. The signatories span musical genres and eras, ranging from A-stars like Billie Eilish, J Balvin and Nicki Minaj to Rock and Roll Hall of Famers like Stevie Wonder and REM. The estates of Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley are also signatories.

The letter, that was published by the Artist Rights Alliance advocacy group is making a broad demand that tech companies pledge not to develop AI tools that undermine or replace human songwriters and artists.

“This attack on human creativity must be stopped. “We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal the voices and likenesses of professional artists, violate the rights of creators, and destroy the music ecosystem,” the letter said.

The letter does not call for a blanket ban on the use of AI in music or production, but states that responsible use of the technology could have benefits for the industry. Music producers have used artificial intelligence tools in various ways in recent years, with one case deploying AI to isolate John Lennon’s vocals from an old demo song and using them to create a “new” Beatles song that was released last year.

The Artist Rights Alliance’s letter is part of an industry-wide response from artists and creators against the use of generative artificial intelligence, as the technology continues to raise ethical and legal concerns around copyright infringement and labor rights. Artist unions and advocacy groups have tried to pressure lawmakers and tech companies to regulate the use of AI, while studios have become interested in its potential to reduce production costs.

Concerns about using AI to write songs and scripts, or to produce images and videos of actors and entertainers, were at the center of the discussion. various contract negotiations and entertainment industry union strikes in 2023. The spread of pornographic, AI-created images of Taylor Swift also drew additional attention to the malicious use of deepfakes, and prompted lawmakers earlier this year to introduce a bill targeting on criminalizing non-consensual AI-generated images. sexualized images. Just last week, ChatGPT maker OpenAI postponed the release of a program that can mimic voting on responsible use concerns.

In March, Tennessee became the first US state to enact legislation directly aimed at protecting musicians from AI generating their vocal likeness for commercial purposes. The Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act or “Elvis Act” goes into effect on July 1 and makes it illegal to replicate an artist’s voice without their permission. That legislation did not address the use of artists’ work as data to train AI models, a practice that has resulted in several lawsuits against companies like OpenAI and is mentioned in the letter.

“Some of the largest and most powerful companies are using our work without permission to train AI models,” the letter says. “These efforts are directly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with vast amounts of AI-created ‘sounds’ and ‘images’ that significantly dilute the royalty pools paid out to artists.”

The Artist Rights Alliance is a non-profit organization run by music industry veterans, such as board member Rosanne Cash – daughter of Johnny Cash. It’s unclear how the organization recruited the artists who signed the letter, which included country stars like Kacey Musgraves, rappers like Q-Tip and younger indie pop stars like Chappell Roan. The Artist Rights Alliance did not immediately return a request for comment.

Estates representing deceased artists are also among the signatories of the letter. There is increasing discussion within the entertainment industry about how artists’ likenesses can be used after their deaths, with AI tools demonstrating a growing ability to create realistic videos from old footage. Several AI versions of dead actors and musicians have appeared in films, video games and television in recent years, sparking controversy and ethical debates.

As AI tools become more publicly available and ubiquitous, musicians are increasingly forced to take a stand on what constitutes a permissible use of artificial intelligence. A few artists, like Grimeshave seen generative AI’s ability to create simulacra of their work as an opportunity to experiment or encourage fans to create songs with their vocal likeness.

Other musicians have expressed more negative feelings about imitations of their musical style. A fan came in January last year ChatGPT asked to generate lyrics in the style of singer-songwriter Nick Cave and asked the artist what he thought of the result.

“This song is nonsense, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human,” Cave replied.

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