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Ohio Foreclosure Defense & Consumer Law > Blog > Consumer Law > Generative AI Company Anthropic Sued By Universal Music Group For Copyright Violations

Generative AI Company Anthropic Sued By Universal Music Group For Copyright Violations


Universal Music Group, one of the largest holders of music copyrights in the country, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Anthropic, a generative AI company that recently accepted $6 billion in investment capital from Google and Amazon. Also named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Concord Music Group, and ABKCO. The plaintiffs are alleging that Anthropic is using copyrighted music lyrics to train its AI and is petitioning the court for an injunction to stop them. Anthropic is asking the court to reject the complaint.

Anthropic offered several arguments in its own defense, including that it has in place safeguards that prevent the type of lyric copying that Universal and the other plaintiffs allege is occurring. They’ve also argued that the case was filed in the wrong court and that the plaintiff’s claims of irreparable harm are not meritorious.

The use of copyrighted material to train AI models is a controversial legal topic. Defendants claim that AI “transforms” the copyrighted material making it legal to use under Fair Use. Plaintiffs claim that what the AI models are doing is nothing short of theft and plagiarism and that they should be prevented from using these materials to train their tech. The courts have ruled in favor of the AI companies thus far, but there has been considerable backlash over the decision.

The lawsuit alleges that Anthropic’s chatbot, Claude, “unlawfully copies and disseminates vast amounts of copyrighted works” that are owned by the plaintiffs. Namely, this includes the lyrics to many songs that are owned by the plaintiffs.

Allegations made by the plaintiffs 

The plaintiffs are claiming that Claude produces lyrics from copyrighted songs even when it is not asked to do so. As an example, UMG alleged that when asked to write a song about the death of Buddy Holly, Claude responded by generating lyrics to the song American Pie by Don McLean. This is despite the fact that the prompt does not identify the song in its query nor even the name of the artist. According to the lawsuit, Claude took credit for a song called “The Day the Music Died” which is a line from McLean’s American Pie. The lawsuit includes a list of at least 500 songs that Claude has allegedly infringed the copyright of.

The plaintiffs are requesting that the court grant them an injunction to stop Claude from using its copyrighted materials as training data while the case proceeds. They are requesting the court grant them $150,000 in statutory damages per infringement. This would leave Anthropic on the hook for at least $75 million in damages should the case be successful. The plaintiffs are requesting that safeguards be put in place to stop Claude from reproducing copyrighted materials and preventing Claude from being trained on copyrighted data.

Talk to a Columbus, OH Copyright Infringement Attorney Today 

Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC represents the interests of businesses in a variety of business torts. Call our Columbus consumer lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your grievance right away.



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