As Universal Cracks Down on AI Music Impersonators, China Proposes New Rules to Restrict Artificial Intelligence Development

One thing that most people in the music industry – and across the political spectrum – seem to be able to agree on right now is that the rapid development of AI is going to be very transformative for our professional and personal lives.

Recently, more than 1,000 signatories, including hundreds of technology, science and academic leaders, sign A open letter calling on all AI labs worldwide “to immediately suspend for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”.

In China, the government has drawn up proposals to take control of restricting the development of generative artificial intelligence in the country.

The proposed measures, published Tuesday, April 11 by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and titled Administrative measures for generative artificial intelligence serviceswould apply to the research, development and use of generative artificial intelligence products in China.

The CAC says technology companies will have to submit security assessments to the so-called “national network information department” before their AI services can be used by consumers.

The measures include AI-powered technology used to generate text, images, sounds, videos, codes and other content “based on algorithms, patterns and rules”.

According to the rules, AI service providers in China will be required to ensure users “scientifically understand and rationally use” AI-generated content and “not to use generated content to harm the image.” , reputation and other rights and legitimate interests of others”. , and not to engage in hype or inappropriate marketing”.

Additionally, AI-generated content, according to the CAC, “should reflect the core values ​​of socialism and must not contain subversion of state power, overthrow of the socialist system, incitement to divide the country , undermine national unity, promote terrorism, extremism and promote ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, violence, obscene and pornographic information, false information and content likely to disrupt the economic and social order”.

Adds CAC: “If users find that the content generated does not meet the requirements of these measures, they have the right to report it to the administration of cyberspace or the competent authorities concerned”.

The arrival of draft proposals to tighten controls over the development and public use of generative AI tools in China comes as market tech giants pitch their own AI models to rival Chat GPT from Open AI.

Tuesday, Alibaba Group unveiled its AI language model called Tongyi Qianwen which, in English, means “truth among a thousand questions”.

Baidu spear its own, apparently disappointing version from Chat GPT, called ERNIE, last month.

Meanwhile, in the music industry, generative AI and its potential to infringe copyrighted content is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for major rights holders.

Universal Music Groupthe world’s largest recorded music rights holder, reportedly said Spotify and other music streaming services like Apple Music to prevent AI-powered technology from “scraping melodies and lyrics” from its artists’ songs.

According to FinancialTimes.

THE FT reports after seeing emails sent to platforms by UMG last month, in which it was written: “We will not hesitate to take measures to protect our rights and those of our artists.”

Additionally, the music company reportedly told streaming services in March, “We have become aware that some AI systems may have been trained on copyrighted content without obtaining the required consents from the rightholders who own or produce the content or without paying compensation to them”.

Coincidentally, Universal is part-owned by a China-based tech giant, after a Tencent-led consortium took over 20% ownership of UMG in 2020 and 2021, ahead of the music company’s IPO. ‘Amsterdam.

The Tencent-led group finalized the acquisition of its first 10% in UMG in Q1 2020. A additional transactionwhich took place during the first half of 2021, increased the Tencent-led consortium’s total stake in UMG to 20%.

The consortium is led by Tencent, but also included participation from the company’s majority subsidiary, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME).

TME’s parent company, Tencent Holdings is develop own AI toolsincluding natural language processing and speech recognition covering speech enhancement, acoustic/language modeling and speech synthesis.

Tencent Music, meanwhile, has a “patented text-to-speech technology” called the Lingyin Engine, which, according to TME, can “quickly and vividly reproduce singers’ voices to produce original songs of any style and language”.

At the end of September 2022, TME had created and released on 1,000 songs with human-style voices made by the Lingyin Engine.

China’s move to control AI development and Universal’s reported efforts to limit AI training on copyrighted material both come amid growing popularity among consumers to use increasingly accessible AI tools to generate music in the style of popular artists.

A viral example of this can be seen in this video posted by “entrepreneur and designer” Roberto Nickson, in which he used an AI audio model of Kanye West (aka: Ye) to transform his own voice into that of the controversial superstar. (Don’t miss Nickson’s very clever, but rather disturbing video – Check it here.)

This growing trend was examined by MBW last week, after reports about Youtuber receive a platform copyright infringement strike for an AI-generated Eminem “cat rap track,” which features AI-generated vocals that mimic the star’s voice .

Universal Music Editing sent the withdrawal request to YouTube because, according to a source, he believed the backing music used in the AI ​​track infringed the copyrights of Eminem’s hit Not afraid.

We pointed out that it was unclear whether the allegedly infringing music accompanying the AI-generated vocals was Also generated by the AI, but noted that if he wasit highlights the problematic nature of AI models trained on vast volumes of copyrighted music.

Following reported communications between Universal and music services, the question many in the music industry will be asking today is: could this be the start of a broader crackdown by the big music companies? music on AI-generated music in the style of popular artists?

The answer to this question, we suggest, is that it is likely – particularly in the context of Tuesday’s (11 April) MBW report, that analysts are beginning to believe that AI can be an existential threat to major labels.The music industry around the world

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