A top executive at Stability, one of the UK’s leading AI firms, quits over the company’s use of copyrighted content to train its AI without permission or payment to creators.
Last spring, neural net pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, dubbed “the godfather of AI,” quit his job at Google to speak freely about what he perceived as the long term dangers of AI. Now, the head of the audio team at Stability AI, Ed Newton-Rex, is speaking out after resigning because the company trained generative AI models on creators’ works without their permission.
“Companies worth billions of dollars are, without permission, training generative AI models on creators’ works, which are then being used to create new content that in many cases can compete with the original works,” Newton-Rex wrote in an op-ed article published this past week in Music Business Worldwide. “I can only support generative AI that doesn’t exploit creators by training models – which may replace them – on their work without permission.”
Like many GenAI companies who are racing to compete in this new frontier, Stability uses the ‘fair use’ doctrine to justify its practices, taking the position that training AI with copyrighted work meets the ‘fair use’ criteria – including the socially beneficial use of existing content – and therefore doesn’t represent any infringement on the creator. By invoking ‘fair use,’ companies believe no permission or payment to the creator is required. “I’m sure I’m not the only person inside these generative AI companies who doesn’t think the claim of ‘fair use’ is fair to creators,” Newton-Rex writes.
Like Hinton before him, Newton-Rex remains supportive of AI – when built responsibly and trained ethically. “It will have many benefits,” he states. “But … training generative AI models in this way is, to me, wrong.”
This past June, to set the standard for ethical AI in music, BeatStars announced the formation of a strategic partnership with music AI startup Lemonaide. Both companies are led by tech entrepreneurs who started as musicians and continue to put the creators’ rights at the forefront of their missions. Through their partnership, the two companies have established the music industry precedent for training AI responsibly and ethically.
Both BeatStars and Lemonaide are committed to using only ethically-sourced AI to empower creators – where the AI is trained through a voluntary community of producers who not only grant their permission, but are also compensated for sharing their work. With Lemonaide’s ground-breaking “Seeds” product, which is fully integrated into the BeatStars platform, the role of AI is limited to short musical ideas that spark inspiration and expand creative boundaries for the individual creator. BeatStars’ and Lemonaide’s approach is to generate AI that is transparently and collaboratively created by musicians for musicians, specifically to inspire producers with idea starters rather than generate complete works that could replace producers in the creative process.
“I started BeatStars out of a personal passion to empower creators in every way possible, whether it’s helping them find new revenue streams or providing them with new tools to inspire their best work.” - Abe Batshon, Founder & CEO, BeatStars
“Everything we do is community first, that will never change – the way we’re approaching AI is no different,” Batshon added.
“There are companies out there right now taking a more secretive approach to training datasets, and they’re taking advantage of artists.” - Michael “MJ” Jacob, Co-Founder & CEO, Lemonaide
“I started off as a musician, and I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure we protect the musician, especially with technologies like AI,” says Jacob.
The AI debate is just getting started, but one thing is clear – AI can be supportive or destructive, depending on how it’s being developed and deployed. Both Lemonaide and BeatStars are committed to leading the supportive side of the AI revolution. "Whether we like it or not, AI is coming to music creation,” Jacob says. “We want to be the ones who define the proper paths to take in utilizing new technology advancements, to use AI in helpful ways, while always keeping the artist front and center as the ultimate decision maker."
For more information on “Seeds” by Lemonaide, visit the link below.