Music Publishers File Preliminary Injunction Against Anthropic, Seeking to Halt ‘Improper Use of Copyrighted Works’

Three major music publishers – Universal Music, Concord Music Group, and ABKCO Music – have petitioned a federal court judge for a preliminary injunction against Anthropic, an artificial intelligence (AI) company based in San Francisco. The motion seeks to prevent Anthropic from reproducing or distributing copyrighted song lyrics owned by the publishers.

The publishers, who filed a lawsuit against Anthropic on October 18, argue that delaying action until the conclusion of litigation would allow Anthropic to continue its improper use of copyrighted works. They are seeking monetary damages of up to $150,000 per infringed work and an order to halt the alleged infringement.

The publishers accuse the company of engaging in “systematic and widespread” infringement of their copyrighted lyrics. Allegedly, Anthropic utilized these lyrics without permission as part of the data it gathered from the internet to train its AI assistant, known as “Claude.” The publishers claim that when users request lyrics through Claude, it generates identical or nearly identical copies of copyrighted songs.

The lawsuit alleges that Anthropic’s AI not only reproduces lyrics upon user requests but also generates responses containing copyrighted lyrics when prompted to perform various tasks, such as writing a song or providing chord progressions. They assert that Anthropic has profited significantly from the infringement, achieving a valuation of $5 billion while allegedly compensating the publishers and songwriters nothing.

“While we can’t comment on the substance of the litigation, our focus remains the same — to build reliable, interpretable and steerable AI systems,” Anthropic said in a statement to Reuters.

Anthropic is the most high-profile competitor to Sam Altman’s OpenAI. The startup was founded in 2021 by siblings and former OpenAI senior members Daniela and Dario Amodei. They received an investment of $4 billion from Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) in September, followed by $2 billion from Google (Nasdaq: GOOGL) in October.

It had already received early funding amounting to $300 million for a 10% stake from Google’s cloud services division in 2022. Before that, it raised $700 million in funding, with $500 million coming from Alameda Research, the now-defunct cryptocurrency trading firm founded by convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried.

Anthropic’s chatbot, Claude, was developed by researchers who were previously involved in the development of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, specifically the GPT-2 and GPT-3 models. The chatbot was launched in July 2023 and is currently available in the US and the UK. 

The company has emphasized safety in Claude’s training and has described the model as “Constitutional AI.” A July report from The Guardian says that the model is trained on “principles taken from documents including the 1948 UN declaration and Apple’s terms of service, which cover modern issues such as data privacy and impersonation.”

Information for this story was found via Reuters, the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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