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Monday, May 27, 2024

Billie Eilish leads charge against ‘predatory’ AI in music

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American singer and songwriter Billie Eilish is among hundreds of artists and songwriters who signed an open letter this week calling for protections against artificial intelligence (AI) in music creation. The letter, organized by the Artist Rights Alliance, warns against the potential for AI to undermine artists’ rights and creativity.

Eilish and her fellow signatories argue that AI could be used to steal the voices and likenesses of artists, violate copyright laws, and ultimately destroy the music industry as we know it. They urge AI developers and tech companies to develop AI responsibly to avoid harming human creativity and ensure fair compensation for artists.

“We call on all digital music platforms and music-based services to pledge that they will not develop or deploy AI music-generation technology, content, or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of songwriters and artists or deny us fair compensation for our work,” read the letter, whose signatories also included Katy Perry, J Balvin, Pearl Jam, Smokey Robinson, and the estate of Frank Sinatra.

“Unchecked, AI will set in motion a race to the bottom that will degrade the value of our work and prevent us from being fairly compensated for it,” read the letter.

Last month, the state of Tennessee – one of the music industry’s nerve centers thanks to Nashville – became the first in the United States to pass legislation that aims to protect music industry professionals against AI threats with its “ELVIS Act.”

The Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act, which goes into effect on July 1, says generative AI tools cannot replicate an artist’s voice without obtaining consent.

Similar legislation is under discussion at the federal level in Congress, and in several other states.

Activists and top industry organizations including the Recording Industry Association of America and the Screen Actors Guild praised the Tennessee act – the Human Artistry Campaign, a global coalition, called it “landmark” legislation.

In Tuesday’s letter, the Artists Rights Alliance – an artist-run group representing songwriters and performers — acknowledged that AI has “enormous potential to advance human creativity,” but warned of the darker consequences.

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