RIAA files legal claim against AI-based music generative services Suno and Udio

RIAA files legal claim against AI-based music generative services Suno and Udio

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed two copyright infringement cases against AI music firms. 

It’s the latest case in the music industry’s battle against unlicensed generative AI platforms.

The claim is based on the mass infringement of copyrighted sound recordings copied and exploited without permission by Suno and Udio.

The case against Suno Inc, developer of Suno AI, was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; the case against Uncharted Labs Inc, developer of Udio AI, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

The plaintiffs in the cases are music companies that hold rights to sound recordings allegedly infringed by Suno and Udio, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music. The claims cover recordings by artists of multiple genres, styles, and eras.

“The music community has embraced AI and we are already partnering and collaborating with responsible developers to build sustainable AI tools centred on human creativity that put artists and songwriters in charge,” said RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier. “But we can only succeed if developers are willing to work together with us. Unlicensed services like Suno and Udio that claim it’s ‘fair’ to copy an artist’s life’s work and exploit it for their own profit without consent or pay set back the promise of genuinely innovative AI for us all.”

RIAA chief legal officer Ken Doroshow added: “These are straightforward cases of copyright infringement involving unlicensed copying of sound recordings on a massive scale. Suno and Udio are attempting to hide the full scope of their infringement rather than putting their services on a sound and lawful footing. These lawsuits are necessary to reinforce the most basic rules of the road for the responsible, ethical, and lawful development of generative AI systems and to bring Suno’s and Udio’s blatant infringement to an end.”

The cases seek three resolutions: declarations that the two services infringed plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings; injunctions barring the services from infringing plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings in the future; and damages for the infringements that have already occurred.

The Suno complaint is available here and the Udio complaint is available here.

In a statement issued to Music Week, Mikey Shulman, CEO of Suno, said: “Suno’s mission is to make it possible for everyone to make music. Our technology is transformative; it is designed to generate completely new outputs, not to memorise and regurgitate pre-existing content. That is why we don’t allow user prompts that reference specific artists.

"We would have been happy to explain this to the corporate record labels that filed this lawsuit (and in fact, we tried to do so), but instead of entertaining a good faith discussion, they’ve reverted to their old lawyer-led playbook.

"Suno is built for new music, new uses, and new musicians. We prize originality.”

An RIAA spokesperson responded: "In an apparent attempt to deceive working artists, rights-holders, and the media about its technology, Suno refuses to address the fact that its service has literally been caught on tape – as part of the evidence in this case – doing what Mr Shulman says his company doesn't do: memorising and regurgitating the art made by humans.”

Music Week has reached out to Udio for comment.


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