A lawsuit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America is demanding compensation of $150,000 for each song allegedly copied by artificial intelligence startups Suno and Udio.

The corporations are accused of breaching copyright laws to create clones of hit singles by the RIAA, which says it represents around 85 per cent of all legal music sales in the U.S. including the major labels.

“"The use here [of AI] is far from transformative,” the complainers argued in the suit, filed in New York and Massachusetts federal courts. “There is no functional purpose for... the AI model to ingest the Copyrighted Recordings other than to spit out new, competing music files.”

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The BBC reported that an AI-produced song called “Prancing Queen” was cited as an example, with the RIAA arguing that it was difficult to distinguish it from a genuine ABBA song.

“[The] motive is brazenly commercial and threatens to displace the genuine human artistry that is at the heart of copyright protection,” the complained continued, adding that if AI corporations were exempted from “playing by the rules,” it could lead to the collapse of “the entire music ecosystem.”

Suno – which recently attracted $125 million investment as it launched its one-click songwriting service – and Udio had not commented at time of writing. AI firms have previously argued that using artists’ work to train models is legal “fair use” of the work in line with creating parody pieces and delivering news reports.

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