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Is AI-Generated Music Copyrighted? Here’s What You Need to Know

Is AI-Generated Music Copyrighted? Here’s What You Need to Know

With the increasing use of AI technology in music production, there has been a growing concern about the legal status of AI-generated music.

The question arises: Is AI-generated music copyrighted?

The US Copyright Office recently judged that AI art, including music, can’t be copyrighted as it’s “not the product of human authorship”.

It’s also still unclear whether art that’s created by humans but which contains AI elements can be copyrighted.

Artificial intelligence has the ability to create music with little or no human intervention. AI-powered music generators such as Amadeus Code, Soundful, and AIVA are capable of producing original music tracks in a matter of seconds.

This raises important questions about the ownership and copyright of such music.

Can AI-generated music be considered as intellectual property, and who owns the rights to it?

Copyright law is designed to protect original works of authorship, but it is not clear whether AI-generated music can be considered an original work of authorship.

This has led to a debate among legal experts about the scope of copyright law in relation to AI-generated music.

In this article, we will explore the current state of copyright law as it relates to AI-generated music and examine some of the legal challenges that need to be addressed.

What is AI-generated Music?

AI-generated music can come in different forms and styles, depending on the type of algorithm and training data used.

Some AI systems are trained on existing music, and can generate music in a similar style or genre. Others are designed to create music that is completely new and unique, based on certain prompts or parameters provided by the user.

The form of AI-generated music can also vary, from simple melodies to complex symphonies.

The patterns and structures of the music are usually determined by the algorithms and training data, which analyze and learn from existing music to create new compositions.

Overall, AI-generated music is an exciting development in the field of music, as it opens up new possibilities for creativity and innovation.

However, it also raises questions about the ownership and copyright of the music, which I will explore in the following sections.

04.25.2023. Grimes lets anyone use her voice for AI-generated songs. Grimes, a pop singer, has offered to split 50% of royalties with musicians who use artificial intelligence (AI) to clone her voice and create new songs. This comes as the music industry grapples with the use of AI-generated songs trained on artists’ voices, which has raised copyright concerns. Universal Music recently succeeded in petitioning streaming services to remove a song called Heart On My Sleeve, which used deep-faked vocals from their artists Drake and The Weeknd. Grimes said she was already working on a program that should simulate her voice well but would also consider releasing a capella tracks for people to train their own software on.

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Is AI-generated Music Copyrightable?

As a creator of AI-generated music, I may be wondering if my work is copyrightable. In the United States, copyright law protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible medium of expression.

This includes musical compositions and sound recordings. However, not all works are eligible for copyright protection.

For example, works that lack originality, such as simple melodies or chord progressions, may not meet the threshold for copyright protection.

Authorship and Ownership

Authorship and Ownership
Authorship and Ownership

When it comes to AI-generated music, questions arise about authorship and ownership. Under copyright law, the author of a work is the person who creates it.

However, in the case of AI-generated music, it may not be clear who the author is. While the AI system may have created the music, it was likely programmed and trained by a human.

Therefore, the question of authorship and ownership may depend on the specific circumstances of each case.

Derivative Works

Another issue to consider is whether AI-generated music constitutes a derivative work. A derivative work is a work that is based on or derived from an existing work.

If AI-generated music is based on existing musical compositions or sound recordings, it may be considered a derivative work.

In this case, the creator of the AI-generated music would need to obtain permission from the copyright owner of the original work in order to use it.

As with any new technology, there are legal risks associated with AI-generated music. For example, if the AI system was trained using copyrighted material without permission, it could be considered copyright infringement.

Additionally, if the AI-generated music is similar enough to an existing work, it could be considered infringement of that work.

The legal landscape surrounding AI-generated music is still developing, and it is important for creators to stay up to date on the latest developments in copyright and intellectual property law.

In conclusion, the copyrightability of AI-generated music is a complex issue that depends on a variety of factors.

While AI-generated music may be eligible for copyright protection, questions about authorship, ownership, and derivative works must be considered.

Additionally, creators of AI-generated music must be aware of the legal risks and landscape surrounding this emerging technology.

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The U.S. Copyright Office has issued new guidance to clarify when artistic works created with the help of artificial intelligence are copyright eligible.

According to the Copyright Office, “copyright law protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.”

This means that if an AI-generated work meets the criteria of originality and fixation, it may be eligible for copyright protection.

Stability of AI-generated Music


One concern with AI-generated music is the stability of the works. Since AI algorithms are constantly learning and changing, there is a risk that the music they produce may not be consistent or stable over time.

This presents a challenge for copyright protection, as it may be difficult to determine which version of an AI-generated work is the “original” for copyright purposes.

However, the Copyright Office has stated that “the mere fact that an AI algorithm may continue to learn or evolve does not necessarily preclude a work produced by that algorithm from being fixed in a tangible medium of expression.”

Human Involvement in AI-generated Music

Another issue with AI-generated music is the level of human involvement in the creative process. While AI algorithms may be responsible for generating the music, there is often some level of human input involved in the process.

This could include selecting the parameters for the algorithm or making creative decisions based on the output of the algorithm.

According to the Copyright Office, “if a human being contributed to the work’s creation to a sufficient extent, the work is eligible for copyright protection.”

In conclusion, while there are still some questions regarding copyright protection for AI-generated music, the Copyright Office has provided guidance to help clarify the issue.

As long as an AI-generated work meets the criteria of originality and fixation, it may be eligible for copyright protection.

Additionally, the level of human involvement in the creative process is an important factor to consider when determining copyright eligibility for AI-generated works.

As AI-generated music continues to gain popularity, there is a growing concern about copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses a copyrighted work without permission. With AI-generated music, the question arises as to who owns the copyright.

If a human created the AI, then the human owns the copyright.

However, if the AI created the music without any human intervention, then it is unclear who owns the copyright.

According to an article in Billboard, a copyright application that demonstrates a human controlled the AI and memorializes the specific human input in the creative process is more likely to succeed.

However, the legal landscape is still evolving, and there is no clear answer as to who owns the copyright for AI-generated music.

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AI-generated Music and Fair Use Doctrine


The fair use doctrine allows for the limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

However, the use must be transformative and not harm the market for the original work.

With AI-generated music, the fair use doctrine may apply in certain cases. For example, if a musician uses AI-generated music as a sample in their own work and transforms it into something new, it may be considered fair use.

However, it is important to note that fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis, and there is no guarantee that the use of AI-generated music will be considered fair use.

There have been several cases of AI-generated music copyright infringement. In one case, a company used an AI program to create a song that sounded similar to a copyrighted song.

The copyright owner sued for infringement, and the case settled out of court.

In another case, a musician used an AI program to create a song that sampled a copyrighted work. The copyright owner sued for infringement, and the court ruled that the use was not transformative and did not qualify as fair use.

These cases highlight the legal risks associated with AI-generated music and the importance of obtaining permission or creating transformative works when using copyrighted material.

AI-generated Music and the Music Industry

As AI-generated music becomes more prevalent, it is important to examine its impact on the music industry.

There are many potential legal risks and opportunities for musicians, and streaming services like Spotify are already grappling with how to handle this new form of music.

Impact of AI-generated Music on the Music Industry

AI-generated music has the potential to disrupt the music industry in many ways. For one, it could make it easier for independent artists to create high-quality music without the need for expensive recording equipment or a professional studio.

This could level the playing field for up-and-coming musicians and allow for more diverse voices to be heard.

On the other hand, AI-generated music could also lead to a homogenization of music, where everything sounds the same. This could be a problem for artists who want to stand out and create unique music.

Spotify and AI-generated Music

Spotify and AI-generated Music
Spotify and AI-generated Music

Streaming services like Spotify are already dealing with the influx of AI-generated music. In fact, there are already countless AI-generated songs available on the platform. However, Spotify has yet to figure out how to properly compensate artists for this type of music.

One potential solution is to create a separate royalty rate for AI-generated music, similar to how cover songs are treated.

This could ensure that artists are properly compensated for their work, while also allowing for more AI-generated music to be added to the platform.

READ ALSO: How to Write Mystery Stories with ChatGPT: Unlock Your Inner Detective

There are many legal risks and opportunities for musicians when it comes to AI-generated music. For one, there is the risk of copyright infringement if an AI-generated song sounds too similar to an existing song.

This is a complex issue that is still being debated in the courts.

However, there are also opportunities for musicians to use AI-generated music in their own work. For example, an artist could use AI-generated music as a starting point for their own song, adding their own unique elements to create something new and original.

Overall, AI-generated music is still a relatively new phenomenon that is still being explored. As more musicians and companies experiment with this technology, it will be interesting to see how it shapes the future of the music industry.

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