Sony Music Group (SMG) has sent a stern letter of warning to around 700 artificial intelligence (AI) companies, where it makes several pages of demands regarding the use of its copyrights in these companies’ AI tools.

Among the addressees are Google and Microsoft, both of which have developed AI tools capable of generating music.

Sony Music Group controls the bodies of works of many major artists, including Billy Joel, Beyonce, Adele and Doja Cat.

In its letter, Sony Music asks the companies to provide details of the songs it owns that were used to train their systems, how the songs were accessed, the number of copies made of the songs, whether copies still exist and how long they existed for, and why it was necessary for the copies to exist for the period of time they were in existence for.

The music label also made it clear that it is willing to come to an agreement regarding licensing for future use.

At the same time, Sony Music also released a public letter where it stated that it has “invested in the development and promotion of songwriters and recording artists all over the world for more than a century.”

It continued: “SMG is a passionate believer in the inherent and paramount value of human artistry. Additionally, SMG has been embracing the potential for responsibly produced AI to be used as a creative tool, revolutionizing the ways songwriters and recording artists create music. We support artists and songwriters taking the lead in embracing new technologies in support of their art. Evolutions in technology have frequently shifted the course of creative industries. AI will likely continue that long-standing trend.

“However, that innovation must ensure that songwriters’ and recording artists’ rights, including copyrights, are respected. For that reason, Sony Music [and its affiliates] are making this affirmative, public declaration confirming that, except as specifically and explicitly authorized, each of them expressly prohibits and opts out of any text or data mining, web scraping or similar reproductions, extractions or uses of any Sony Music content (including, without limitation, musical compositions, lyrics, audio recordings, audiovisual recordings, artwork, images, data, etc.) for any purposes, including in relation to training, developing or commercializing any AI system, and by any means, including by bots, scrapers or other automated processes, in each case to the full extent permitted by applicable law in all relevant jurisdictions.

Sony Music is not the first music label to take an aggressive stance on AI. Earlier this year, Universal Music Group pulled all of its music off TikTok after licensing negotiations collapsed. The company’s music later returned to the platform after the parties reached a deal with more protections around AI and “new monetisation opportunities” around e-commerce.

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