AI – Round 2!!

April 5, 2019


Following on from the hot topic of AI and ownership in my last blog, here we look at Warner Music (Warner) who recently signed a bundle of code generated by AI to create 20 new albums with a tech company based in Berlin, which will be released throughout 2019.

Warner is an American multinational record firm that have signed artists such as Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Madonna and many more! The latest to be signed by the company is an “algorithm.” Endel, the AI developed by the Berlin tech company, creates tailor made custom sounds based on personal user inputs such as weather, time of day, location, and biometric details.

As discussed from my previous blog, ownership of copyright work is not considered to be AI’s work. As we see here, Endel is not signatory to the distribution contract with Warner but as Prof. Bernt Hugenholtz argued at the March Alicante Congress on AI and IP, “for AI-generated works needs to be balanced against the overarching goals that such protection aims to achieve.”

This is not the first time AI generated work has created such deals. Aiva music was the first AI to register a composition algorithm and partner with a record label. Sony also created an algorithmic composition tool regarding its Flow Machines project, the AI was credited as songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist for the debut album ‘Hello World.’ The creators of the AI were also included the contributors as well, more because we have no idea who should be credited.

Endel music composition is different compared to these. There are no human collaborators that assist creating the sound. The only contribution a human had was creating the AI itself. However the ownership is argued to be the creators of Endel might be the owners of the copyright work, whereas others suggest it is the AI, especially as there is no human contribution. Potentially there is argument that the owner should be those that input the information into Endel.

Now for Warner and Endel, this is a practical issue. Who owns the copyright?! When Warner asked the question it was decided that ownership should be listed as the co- founders and software engineers. Although some of the engineers have been noted to say that they do not know or have any idea how to write a song but they are being credited as such.

Clearly there is an outcry for the law to step in and give us a position over the ownership on AI copyright work especially based on the Warner deal. Many questions from this deal come into mind. Although the skill, labour and effort that went into creating and developing Endel might be argued to be a fair result of ownership, but this doesn’t provide a clear cut answer of ownership especially when the AI becomes more independent and is able to self-learn without human contribution.

So the question over ownership and AI is yet to be decided and the future is unclear but we at Briffa will keep following the progress over this and keep you updated regarding this issue.

If you have any issues with copyright or any other aspects intellectual property you want to discuss, we at Briffa advises on all aspects of intellectual property law and practice and offers free 30-minute consultations to all new clients. If you would like to book a call or a meeting with one of our specialist IP lawyers, please contact or 020 7288 6003.

Written by Hasnath Ahmed, Solicitor


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