"Eminem loves cats until the very end, they may drive us crazy, with their constant meows."
Record label behemoth Universal Music Group has issued a copyright takedown notice against a YouTuber, Vice reports, who created an AI-generated song about kittens using the voice of world-renowned rapper Marshall "Eminem" Mathers.
The copyright strike, which was issued against YouTuber Grandayy's video titled "I asked AI to write an Eminem rap about cats," raises some interesting questions regarding the rights to an AI-generated voice. Do Eminem and the label that represents him have full control over any use of his voice, AI-generated or otherwise? Or is that a vast overreach that could set a dangerous precedent for AI-generated content in the future?
The catchy song itself, which was featured at the end of an episode of John Oliver's HBO show "Last Week Tonight" last month, couldn't be more innocuous.
"Cats cats cats they’re always on the prowl/they’re sneaky and sly, with their eyes on the goal," Eminem's computerized voice raps, somewhat convincingly.
Unsurprisingly, Grandayy was shocked to see the copyright strike.
"I definitely think it was an extreme reaction, especially considering the fact that they didn't just block the video but they also sent a DMCA takedown, which gives my YouTube channel a strike," the YouTuber told Vice. "Since AI blew up in a relatively quick manner, the laws surrounding it are still ambiguous, so legally it's difficult to say for sure if they even have the right to block AI-generated content or not."
Copyright strikes are serious business for YouTubers who make a living on the platform. It only takes three copyright strikes for them to have their entire channels banned.
AI is becoming a hotly debated topic in the music industry. Just last week, a whole host of rap producers reacted with shock and dismay after watching an uncanny-sounding clip of an AI-generated Jay-Z rapping that went viral on social media.
"So what do we do," Jay-Z's longtime engineer Young Guru wrote in a post on Instagram, reacting to the clip. " On one hand I’m well aware that you can’t stop technology. Once the genie is out of the box you can put him back in."
"On the other hand we have to protect the rights of the artist," he added. "People should not be able to take your Name, Image and Likeness without permission."
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