Sony Music have slammed Google, Microsoft, OpenAI and other tech firms over claims of unauthorised A.I. songs.

The music publisher – which is the largest in the world and represents artists like Adele and Beyoncé – sent letters to each of the tech giants demanding to know if they had used their songs to develop artificial intelligence systems.

According to BBC, the letter was sent to more than 700 firms in total, writing that they had “reason to believe” that the recipients “may already have made unauthorized uses” of its music.

Sony Music has reportedly given firms a deadline to respond, and said it will enforce its copyright policy “to the full extent permitted by applicable law”.

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Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 01, 2024. Broadcasted live on FOX (CREDIT: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

The conversation around A.I. in music is particularly contentious at present, sparking ongoing concerns about how and where emerging technology “learns” to produce its output and if it has permission to pull from data like books or music catalogues.

The EU’s upcoming AI Act is set to tighten up and clarify rules around artificial intelligence and how systems are trained.

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One high-profile case saw Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and other writing sue the makers of ChatGPT for “systematic theft on a mass scale”.

More recently, Scarlett Johansson claimed OpenAI used a voice similar to hers for ChatGPT, even after she allegedly denied their offer to collaborate.

As for musicians’ takes on A.I. technology, Nick Cave last year said that ChatGPT should “just fuck off and leave songwriting alone”. Slash this month also said that the use of AI in music “does not really thrill me”.

Last month, over 200 artists including Billie EilishRobert SmithStevie Wonder and Nicki Minaj signed an open letter put together by Artists Rights Alliance warning against the “predatory” use of AI in music, while MPs have suggested that musicians and celebrities should be protected against AI deepfakes by law.

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Back in March, attendees at SXSW booed a presentation which focused solely on being pro-artificial intelligence.

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