Music publishers Universal Music, ABKCO, and Concord Publishing filed a lawsuit against artificial intelligence company Anthropic in Tennessee federal court. The publishers accused Anthropic of using a large number of copyrighted song lyrics without permission to train its chatbot Claude. The lawsuit identified lyrics from at least 500 songs, including hits like the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” and Beyonce’s “Halo.”

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Anthropic has not yet responded to the allegations. The publishers’ attorney declined to comment on the ongoing litigation but highlighted that copyright law prohibits the reproduction, distribution, and display of copyrighted works without permission. In recent years, many copyright owners, including authors and visual artists, have sued tech companies over the use of their work to train generative-AI systems. This lawsuit is the first case involving song lyrics and the first against Anthropic, which has received financial support from Google, Amazon, and Sam Bankman-Fried, a former cryptocurrency billionaire.

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The lawsuit alleges that Anthropic infringed on the publishers’ copyrights by using their lyrics without permission as part of the vast amount of text it scrapes from the internet to train Claude. Additionally, the publishers claim that Claude reproduces the lyrics upon request and in response to various prompts that do not seek the publishers’ lyrics. For instance, when asked to write a song about the death of rock pioneer Buddy Holly, Claude allegedly provides relevant lyrics from Don McLean’s “American Pie.” The publishers are seeking monetary damages and an injunction to halt the alleged infringement.

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