A 'Fake Drake' Song Using Generative AI Was Just Pulled From Streaming Services
A computer-generated song went viral over the weekend, raising legal and ethical questions when Universal Publishing yanked it.
Last weekend, you may have seen a new Drake and The Weeknd song on social media.
The Weeknd's former girlfriend Selena Gomez was the subject of "heart on my sleeves," which went viral, racking up over 20 million views in Twitter and 11 million on TikTok.
There was only one problem: none of it is real.
Ghostwriter977, a TikTok musician anonymous, created the song using AI-generated copies of the artists' vocals.
Universal Music Group (UMG), however, was not amused. The publishing company ordered all streaming music platforms to remove the deepfake song on Monday. The track was pulled from YouTube, Twitter TikTok Amazon SoundCloud Tidal and Deezer on Monday.
UMG stated that using generative AI to create music for their artists "represents a breach of both our agreements and the copyright laws."
The music publisher said that they had "a legal and ethical obligation to prevent their services from being used in a way that would harm artists."
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The use of AI to duplicate an artist's voice is a violation of their intellectual property, but the Fake Drake song may not have violated copyright laws because the composition was original.
Edward Klaris of Klaris Law, a Media Lawyer told NBC News that "we're all waiting on some court decision" to determine whether or not training data was acceptable. "Here, the songs are being used to create brand new songs."
He said that the Supreme Court "could decide it's a non-copyright infringement, because it is transformative... or they could tell you something else like: 'It's a copyright violation.'" You can't take other people's songs to create new songs that sound exactly like them.
UMG also questioned those who produce and consume music like "heart in my sleeve" for their ethics.
It begs the questions of which side of the history stakeholders in the music industry want to be on - the side that supports artists, fans and human creativity, or the side that promotes deep fakes, fraud and denies artists their rightful compensation.