Music Companies Take Legal Action Against Amazon-Backed AI Startup

A recent legal battle is brewing in the music world. Three top music companies are suing Anthropic, an AI firm. They claim the company’s AI, Claude, is using their song lyrics without permission. This serious accusation involves copyright laws, hinting at a turbulent time ahead for the AI developer.

The companies involved are no small fish – Universal Music Group Publishing, Concord Music Group, and ABKCO are on the front lines. They’ve brought their complaint before a court in Nashville, known for its rich musical culture. This move might give them a favourable setting because of the city’s deep ties with the music industry.

Anthropic in Hot Water

The heart of the matter lies in how Anthropic’s AI, Claude, uses song lyrics. The music companies allege that Claude doesn’t just use the lyrics when someone asks directly. It goes beyond, pulling up lyrics even for broad topics unrelated to specific songs. This, they say, is a clear misuse of their copyrighted content.

One notable instance the companies brought up involves Katy Perry’s song “Roar.” When Claude received requests for these lyrics, it presented almost an exact copy, stepping on Concord’s rights in the process.

“Anthropic acts without concern for the law or the artists whose work they’re using,” the lawsuit states, showing the depth of frustration felt by these music stalwarts.

Legal Eagles Speak

Matthew J. Oppenheim, standing for the music companies, emphasised their stance. “Anthropic doesn’t want others taking its code without permission. Our clients feel the same about their music,” he said, stressing the shared importance of respecting copyright.

The lawsuit’s demands are stern. They want justice in the form of a trial by their peers and are asking for damages. The figures are no joke – they’re requesting at least $75 million, and that number might grow.


A Stain on Anthropic’s Big Moment

This legal trouble comes at a bad time for Anthropic. They’ve just joined hands with Amazon, who put a $4 billion vote of confidence in their work. This partnership includes plans for using Amazon’s cloud services and AI-training chip, Trainium. But now, this dark cloud hangs over their ambitious projects.

Anthropic, at the time of reporting, hasn’t given their side of the story. They stayed silent when asked for their thoughts, adding more mystery to the situation.

Copyright Wars Just Beginning

This isn’t a one-off event. Problems like this are popping up more often, putting companies like Anthropic in a tough spot. Other artists and writers have also fought back against tech companies using their work without asking.

Sarah Silverman, a well-known comedian, has sued other big tech names for similar reasons. “They used my book without asking me,” she stated about an incident that mirrors the current Anthropic issue.

These cases bring up big questions. Are companies allowed to use copyrighted content to teach their AIs? They argue it’s for a good cause – to develop new tech. But artists counter, saying this harms their ability to earn from their work.

This back-and-forth is causing a lot of uncertainties. Tech firms are now promising to protect their customers if they face legal problems over copyright content. They hope this move will keep businesses using their new AI tools.

Even the big bosses like Congress and the FTC are stepping in, checking they’re staying within the law. This lawsuit, and others like it, could decide how AI develops from now on. It’s a tricky path, balancing new tech with artists’ rights.