Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a buzzword that is frequently used by startups and established businesses in the tech industry.
In some cases, it refers to little more than advanced algorithms, but complex self-learning computer systems with human-like traits are actively being developed as well.
From a copyright perspective, AI can bring up some interesting questions. For example, can content created by an AI be copyrighted like any other work? Or perhaps AI can infringe copyrights held by others?
While legal experts scratch their heads over similar questions, the RIAA has already made up its mind about a selection of services claiming to offer AI music extractors and mixers.
Responding to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the music group highlighted several of these sites in its annual overview of ‘notorious’ piracy markets.
“There are online services that, purportedly using artificial intelligence (AI), extract, or rather, copy, the vocals, instrumentals, or some portion of the instrumentals from a sound recording, and/or generate, master or remix a recording to be very similar to or almost as good as reference tracks by selected, well-known sound recording artists,” RIAA writes.
Songmastr is one of the platforms that’s mentioned. The service promises to “master” any song based on the style of well-known music artists such as Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Coltrane, Bob Dylan, James Brown and many others.
The site’s underlying technology is powered by the open-source Matchering 2.0 code, which is freely available on GitHub. And indeed, its purported AI capabilities are prominent in the site’s tagline.
“This service uses artificial intelligence and is based on the open source library Matching. The algorithm masters your track with the same RMS, FR, peak amplitude and stereo width as the reference song you choose,” explains Songmastr.
Where Artificial Intelligence comes into play is not quite clear to us. The same can be said for the Acapella-Extractor and Remove-Vocals websites, which the RIAA lists in the same category. The names of these services are pretty much self-explanatory; they can separate the vocals from the rest of a track.
The RIAA logically does not want third parties to strip music or vocals from copyrighted tracks, particularly when these derivative works are further shared with others.
Unauthorized Copies and Derivatives
While Songmastr’s service is a bit more advanced, the RIAA sees it as clearly infringing. After all, the original copyrighted tracks are used by the site to create derivative works, without the necessary permission.
“To the extent these services, or their partners, are training their AI models using our members’ music, that use is unauthorized and infringes our members’ rights by making unauthorized copies of our members’ works.
“In any event, the files these services disseminate are either unauthorized copies or unauthorized derivative works of our members’ music,” the RIAA’s submission adds.
Thus far, Songmastr does not appear to be a major threat in terms of traffic. With less than 200 visits per day over the past 12 months, it hasn’t really caught on. Acapella-Extractor and Remove-Vocals are more popular, with a few hundred thousand monthly visits.
The RIAA is clearly worried about these services. Interestingly, however, the operator of Songmastr and Acapella-Extractor informs us that the music group has not reached out with any complaints. But perhaps they’re still in the pipeline.
Aside from the emerging AI threats, the RIAA lists various torrent sites, download sites, stream rippers, and bulletproof ISPs in its overview. The popular video app likee.video is also included, as it reportedly failed to obtain proper licenses for the tracks it uses.
The RIAA’s full list of “notorious” pirate sites can be found below, and the full report is available here (pdf).
– flvto.biz and 2conv.com
– y2mate.com (and related sites yt1s.com, yt5s.com, y2meta.com, , and 9convert.com)
– savefrom.net (and related site savef.net)
Music Download Sites
BitTorrent Indexing Sites
– 1337x.to and mirrored at 1337x.is, 1337x.se, 1337x.st, x1337x.ws, x1337x.eu, and x1337x.se)
Unauthorized Short Form Video Services
AI Based Extractors/Mixers
– Bulletproof ISPS: PRQ, FlokiNET, Frantech Solutions/BuyVM, DDoS Guard.
– Nigerian-Operated Infringing Sites: thenetnaija.net, trendybeatz.com, justnaija.com, 24naijamuzic.com and bazenation.com.