The title scenario has not happened yet, but it would be the holy grail of computer-generated music according to Yacin Bahi, one of the founders of iMuze. In discussion with an IP rights expert Gregor Pryor, the panel looks into how do rights work with AI produced content.
iMuze is currently working with two main use cases, where users can either upload a video that gets an automatic soundtrack based on the tempo and events of the video, or adjust the parameters manually and set the feel, tempo and order manually, and have the AI fill out the rest.
The current AI technology is getting exponentially faster, and online streaming services like Spotify and Youtube are producing terabytes of suitable training data every minute for the AI to learn what is music and what people like. The panelists estimate that this will probably lead to first computer-created hit song in 3-4 years.
But who owns this? The current copyright laws vary a lot from one country to another, but one of the main principles is human as the initiator of creative efforts. As the panelists find it difficult to see an AI receiving a legal status similar to humans, the copyrights are currently being assigned to the human actors that are currently involved in the creation process. The activity can be in the form of actively creating a single song by adjusting the input parameters or uploading the video, or creating the underlying technology that allows automatic music generation.
In the case of iMuze, they are claiming the copyrights for themselves for every song through the human interaction always involved, but will licence the AI created songs out according to different use cases that either allow free usage and public distribution, or for their client to own and monetize the content. Overall, they are still building the copyright airplane as they are flying it, and building their business model on the current copyright system.
At the same time, all the panelists agree on the need of simplification, and more clear definition of especially the fringe cases of creativity by non-humans. The most common example of this so far is the monkey selfie, which was also discussed in length – the photo was deemed by the creation of the monkey itself, and as only humans can own copyrights, it can be used freely.