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AI's Collision Course with Music Copyright is Probably Overblown

Since AI hit the public consciousness with the release of ChatGPT, headlines have blared that these tools were built on the backs of creatives' copyright protected works and what's worse, the goal all along was to put those creatives out of business. And it's probably true, to an extent.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to revolutionize various industries, for better or worse. Get used to the idea. Today's state of the art music creation tools. like Udio. are just the beginning. It's still a bit of a stunt or a trick. I'm amazed at what they can do, but I certainly wouldn't want to listen the "music" they create for any length of time. They sound like what they are, artificial.

Give them time.

Exponential learning will bring exponentially better outputs, and as the algorithms become increasingly adept at making music that mimics human composition styles, it will supplant the world of mediocre music in short order. Music that's cheap, fast, and "good enough" will compete in the mediocrity market. And they'll win. It is inevitable. Music copyright is not going to stop it, but on the way to wherever this goes, a myriad of legal questions and challenges arise. Let's delve into the legal ramifications of AI-generated music and the complexities surrounding issues like copyright infringement, similarities to existing works, and the implications for the music industry as a whole.

Understanding AI in Music Creation

AI technology has enabled the generation of music compositions that closely resemble pieces created by human musicians. These AI-generated compositions often exhibit remarkable similarities to existing works, blurring the lines between originality and replication. While AI has the potential to enhance creativity and streamline the music creation process, it also raises important legal considerations that cannot be ignored.

Copyright Infringement in AI-Generated Music

One of the primary legal concerns surrounding AI in music is of course copyright infringement. When AI algorithms produce music that closely resembles copyrighted songs, questions of ownership and originality will be challenging. Who holds the rights to music created by AI? Right now it looks like nobody does. The Copyright Office won't register AI created music. Your prompts aren't ownership. But all these questions highlight the need for a reevaluation of existing copyright laws to address the unique challenges posed by AI-generated content. The artificial intelligence industry is an international one, but copyright law differs from country to country. When we in the USA use copyright law to rein in artificial intelligence, we put our developers at a disadvantage. There's a lot to consider.

Navigating Similarity and Originality

AI's ability to analyze vast amounts of musical data and generate compositions based on patterns and trends raises questions about the distinction between similarity and originality. How do we define originality in the context of music created by AI? When does a composition cross the line from inspiration to imitation? Forensic musicologists will probably be busier than ever helping courts and creatives figure out where this line is drawn. It's not so much that our golden ears and wisdom will decide, but that we can help illuminate the questions so that the real truthfinders, regulators, and legislators can put their best foot forward on our behalf.

Maintaining a balance between encouraging innovation and protecting intellectual property rights is crucial in navigating the nuances of AI-generated music.

AI in Music

Looking to the Future

As AI continues to permeate the music industry, stakeholders must proactively address the legal implications of AI-generated music. Collaborations between legal experts, musicians, and technologists are essential to establish guidelines that protect the rights of creators while fostering innovation. By navigating the complexities of AI in music with foresight and collaboration, we can ensure a harmonious integration of technology and creativity in the evolving landscape of music production.


The intersection of AI and music presents a fascinating blend of innovation and legal complexity. By exploring the legal ramifications of AI-generated music, we gain insight into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for artists, rights holders, and the broader music industry. As AI continues to shape the way we create and consume music, a thoughtful and transparent approach to legal considerations is essential to support a thriving and ethically responsible musical ecosystem.

Through a collaborative effort to address the legal intricacies of AI in music, we can pave the way for a future where creativity, technology, and legal integrity converge to enrich the music landscape for creators and audiences alike.

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