You may have heard a new song from pop sensations Drake and The Weeknd blasting onto social media over the weekend.
The song “Heart on My Sleeve,” about The Weeknd’s ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez, went viral and went over 20 million views on Twitterand 11 million views on TikTok.
Just one problem – none of it was real.
The song was created by an anonymous TikTok musician named Ghostwriter977 using AI-generated replicas of the artists’ voices.
Universal Music Group (UMG) was not amused. The publisher had all music streaming platforms pull the deepfake track on Monday. It was pulled from YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Amazon, SoundCloud, Tidal, and Deezer earlier today.
In a statement, UMG said the use of generative AI in their artists’ music “represents both a violation of our agreements and a violation of copyright.”
The music publisher added that it had a “legal and ethical responsibility to prevent their services from being used in a way that harms artists.
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Legal and ethical questions arose
Using AI to replicate an artist’s vocals infringes their IP, but it’s unclear if Fake Drake’s song violated copyright laws as the musical composition was original.
“We are all waiting for a court decision that will tell us whether training data is in order or not,” said Edward Klaris, media attorney at Klaris Law told NBC News. “Here they use all the pre-existing songs to make new songs.”
He added that “the Supreme Court could rule that it’s not copyright infringement because it’s transformative…or they could say something else like, ‘It’s copyright infringement. You can’t just take the copying people’s songs to make new songs that just sound like that.'”
Aside from the song’s legalist, UMG questioned the ethics of those who create and consume songs like “heart on my sleeve”.
It raises the question of which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or the side of deep falsifications, fraud and denying artists their due compensation. “