UK recorded music industry's trade association launches first legal action over deepfakes

March 20, 2024
Music mixer

Partner Nick Eziefula comments on the news that the UK recorded music industry's trade association has launched its first ever legal initiative against AI 'deepfake' technology, in Euronews, Music Business Worldwide and World Intellectual Property Review.

"Today’s news proves that the "Wild West" era of unlicensed AI music generation may not last much longer if music rights-holders have any say in the matter.

"It is impossible to see how an AI platform that flagrantly and deliberately mimics artists’ voices could be built without using recordings of those voices as training data. Using copyright recordings in this way is unlawful in England unless permission has been granted or any of the relevant exceptions or defences to copyright infringement apply.

"There could even be issues beyond copyright here – and at the moment, there are more questions than answers. Whilst the sound of an artist’s voice may not itself be a copyright work, it may amount to personal data, in which case unauthorised use may be a breach of data privacy laws. There may also be a misappropriation of the artists’ brand, so false endorsement principles could well apply, and even claims for reputational damage if AI-generated works appear to be attributed falsely to the original artists. These are risks day-to-day consumers of the service are unlikely to be aware of – and Voicify seems to hide behind its small print here, expressly asserting that it is not responsible for its customers’ use of generated content.

"I am hopeful that cases such as this will set a new norm in which blatant unauthorised use of copyright works to train generative AI platforms will be established as unlawful, paving the way at long last for an effective regime of licensing for approved use and enforcement against unauthorised use."

Nick's comments were published in Euronews and Music Business Worldwide, 18 March 2024, and World Intellectual Property Review, 19 March 2024.

Nick EziefulaNick Eziefula
Nick Eziefula
Nick Eziefula

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