The AI-generated Drake and The Weeknd song was taken down from social media platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, and others over the course of the last two days. The song calls into question existing copyright laws and whether they apply to songs created in the artist’s voice and without consent.
The song, Heart On My Sleeve, was reportedly created by Ghostwriter977 who used AI software to replicate Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals with original lyrics, Axios reported. The song garnered more than 275,000 plays on YouTube and was played more than 625,000 times on Spotify before it was taken down.
Spotify, Apple, and YouTube did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The artist’s record label, Universal Music Group (UMG), expressed its displeasure with the song and demanded it be removed from all platforms. The song has yet to be taken off some social media including TikTok and UMG said allowing the song to be played is an infringement on copyright laws.
The label told Music Business Worldwide that the song “begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.” It continued, “These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists. We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”
Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, sites aren’t legally liable for content uploaded by third parties but they are obligated to comply with valid copyright takedown requests. AI-generated music is still new territory as it develops faster than laws can be drawn up, and Edward Klaris, a media lawyer and managing partner at Klaris Law, told NBC, “We’re all waiting for some court’s decision that’s going to tell us whether training data is OK or not OK.”
He continued, “Here, they’re using all the pre-existing songs to create new songs, and so the Supreme Court could decide it’s not copyright infringement because it’s transformative … or they could say something different, like: ‘It is a copyright infringement. You can’t just take people’s songs and copy them to make new songs that sound just like that.’”
Drake and The Weeknd have not responded to the AI-generated song, but the BBC reported in a previous story posted to Instagram that Drake said, “This is the final straw AI,” after a fan-made video surfaced of what appeared to be himself rapping to the Ice Spice song Munch (Feeling U).