A song featuring the voices of Drake and The Weeknd called “Heart On My Sleeve” has garnered over 250,000 Spotify streams and 10 million views on TikTok. But the two renowned musicians had nothing to do with the song – an artist named “ghostwriter” generated the song using AI.
Drake and The Weeknd have yet to comment on the song, but Drake recently commented on AI-generated music ripping off his voice. When Drake saw an AI model of himself singing Ice Spice’s “Munch,” he wrote on his Instagram story, “This is the final straw AI.” It’s possible he was messing around, but he would be far from the first major artist to object to the rising number of deepfake songs.
In 2020, Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s agency, filed copyright strikes against YouTube uploads of AI-generated Jay-Z deepfakes, but eventually YouTube reinstated the videos. And last week the same thing happened to Eminem; UMG, which represents both rappers, has issued a copyright strike for AI-generated YouTube videos of Eminem rapping about cats.
Ghostwriter and Spotify did not immediately respond to AapkaDost’s requests for comment.
Copyright law is not technologically advanced enough to have specific guidelines regarding generative AI. But in the current state of the law, transformative parody is allowed. However, these laws are very open to interpretation, as the idea of what makes work “transformative” is subjective and there is little case law to set a precedent – historically, many of these cases have been resolved before being settled by a judge reaches.
UMG recently took steps to prevent the proliferation of AI-generated music ripping off the artist. According to a report from the Financial Times, UMG has asked streaming services such as Spotify to prevent AI companies from using its music to train their models.
“We have a moral and commercial responsibility to our artists to work to prevent unauthorized use of their music and to prevent platforms from including content that violates the rights of artists and other creators,” said a UMG representative.
Once an artistic work is part of a dataset, it can be difficult to remove it. To put artists back in control, technologists Mat Dryhurst and Holly Herndon founded Spawning AI. One of their projects, “Have I Been Trained”, allows users to search for their artwork and see if it has been included in an AI training set without their consent.
In some cases, however, removing someone’s intellectual property from AI models can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Greg Rutkowski, a living illustrator who has created detailed imaginative illustrations for franchises like “Dungeons & Dragons,” was one of Stable Diffusion’s hottest search terms when it launched in September, allowing users to easily replicate his signature style. Rutkowski never consented to his artwork being used to train the algorithm, and once the floodgates open, it may be too late for Rutkowski to regain the control he used to have over his work.
For now, Drake and The Weeknd’s Ghostwriter fake track will remain on Spotify, but it may not be there for long.