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First off today, Blake Brittain at Reuters reports that a collection of record labels, including Universal and Sony, have filed a lawsuit against the Internet Archive over a collection of digitized music from older records.
The lawsuit specifically targets the Internet Archives Great 78 Project, which the lawsuit claims is an “illegal record store” and includes songs by a variety of artists. They allege that some 2,749 recordings have been infringed, bringing the potential damages up to $412 million.
The move comes as the Internet Archive is facing a similar lawsuit filed by book publishers over the site’s book lending program. In that case, the judge has already ruled in favor of the publishers, though the Internet Archive has said it intends to appeal.
Next up today, Eric Revell at Fox Business reports that Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is negotiating with Universal Music Group to create a tool that would allow fans (and other creators) to make “deepfake” songs using the voice and style of performers.
Deepfakes have become a popular genre of music as users of AI systems create “new” songs in the style of various artists, including many who are deceased. However, that has created controversy as performers and record labels alike have accused such systems of copyright infringement.
An agreement between the two could mitigate many of the legal risks in creating such deepfakes. In the past, Universal has taken a strong stance against AI-generated deepfakes, saying that they are anti-artist and anti-fan.
Finally today, Matt Browcoot at PetaPixel reports that a group of photo agencies have co-signed an open letter calling for stronger legal protections to prevent the misuse of their work by AI systems.
The group included, among others Getty Images and the Associated Press. While the letter praises the potential benefits of generative AI technology, it expresses concern that the increase in generated content could erode trust in media.
The letter also makes reference to the infringement of copyright, claiming that AI companies need to get permission or otherwise strike deals with photographers and their representatives. The letter also called for transparency, calling for such systems to clearly identify their output.