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Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry & 200 More Artists Sign an Open Letter Against AI Tech Using Their Art for Training

"This assault on human creativity must be stopped."

Photo by Nathan DeFiesta / Unsplash

A few days ago on their Medium page, Artists Rights Alliance, a non-profit organisation advocating for musicians, performers, and songwriters shared a list of artists who have signed up to oppose developers using their music to train AI models. Along with this list, ARA shared an open letter called "Stop Devaluing Music" that implores developers and tech companies to cease "the assault on human creativity."

Approximately 250 artists and songwriters have voiced their dissent against the unauthorised use of their work by generative AI for training models that pose competition. And there are really big names on this list. Among the artists voicing their discontent were Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Billy Porter, Chase and Status, Sam Smith, Jon Bon Jovi, and dozens of others.

In their press release, ARA points two trends that they see as the most threatening ones when it comes to AI models being fed with human art: The use of musical works by AI developers without permission to train and produce AI "copycats" and the use of AI sound to dilute royalty obligations.

"Working musicians are already struggling to make ends meet in the streaming world, and now they have the added burden of trying to compete with a deluge of AI-generated noise," explains Jen Jacobsen, Executive Director of the ARA in the press release. "The unethical use of generative AI to replace human artists will devalue the entire music ecosystem — for artists and fans alike."

Here are some statements from the petition:

"We, the undersigned members of the artist and songwriting communities, call on AI developers, technology companies, platforms and digital music services to cease the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to infringe upon and devalue the rights of human artists."

"We believe that, when used responsibly, AI has enormous potential to advance human creativity. Unfortunately, some platforms and developers are employing AI to sabotage creativity and undermine artists, songwriters, musicians, and rightsholders."

"Some of the biggest and most powerful companies are, without permission, using our work to train AI models. These efforts are directly aimed at replacing the work of human artists with massive quantities of AI-created 'sounds' and 'images' that substantially dilute the royalty pools that are paid out to artists. For many working musicians, artists and songwriters who are just trying to make ends meet, this would be catastrophic."

"This assault on human creativity must be stopped."

Some artists undersigning the open letter faced criticism and accusations of being hypocritical, however. "I'm glad the creators are taking action, but Nicki Minaj should look at her past," shares one user on X, attaching an AI-generated image Nicki posted in January.

Credit: Nicki Minaj

"Hopefully Nicki Minaj has come around to also support visual art in this as well, since not too long ago she was reposting obvious AI 'art' made by fans to promote her album at the time," another user says on X.

Katy Perry's name under the petition also raised the eyebrows of some who follow her social activities so attentively that they know she "cuddled with Sam Altman" at a party a few weeks ago.

Possibly, this won't be the last petition of this sort. Voice cloning and AI text-to-music solutions pop up monthly, and not many of them disclose the sources of data they use to train their models. In this open letter, ARA says that "the biggest and most powerful" companies use musicians' work for model training, and we dare to assume one of those implied might be Suno, a text-to-music tool that creates AI music currently surpassing other similar technologies quality-wise. Suno and OpenAI's latest brainchild Sora are those companies that faced much criticism regarding data training sources, royalty pool dilution, and potential job losses.

Such open letters aren't the only way trying to stop the exploitation of human creativity. Legislators of the US and EU have already started enacting bills and acts that aim at regulating the use of AI. The state of Tennessee has proposed the ELVIS Act (Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act), enhancing its "right of publicity" protections. Similar legislation is being discussed in the US Congress, several US states, and EU.