US labels body the RIAA has made its latest submission to the US Trade Representative’s annual review of ‘Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy’.
It’s a now-familiar mix of streamripping, unlicensed download and streaming sites, torrent trackers and cyberlockers. But also a new category: AI Vocal Cloning.
“The year 2023 saw an eruption of unauthorized AI vocal clone services that infringe not only the rights of the artists whose voices are being cloned but also the rights of those that own the sound recordings in each underlying musical track,” noted the RIAA in the submission.
“This has led to an explosion of unauthorized derivative works of our members’ sound recordings which harm sound recording artists and copyright owners.”
There may have been an ‘eruption’ of services, but only one is called out specifically in the filing: Voicify.ai, which the RIAA believes is based in the UK. It offers AI vocal models of artists including Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Eminem, Adele and Ed Sheeran among others.
“The service stream-rips the YouTube video selected by the user, copies the acapella from the track, modifies the acapella using the AI vocal model, and then provides to the user unauthorized copies of the modified acapella stem, the underlying instrumental bed, and the modified remixed recording,” said the RIAA, adding that it believes the site has notched up 8.8m visits in the last year.
It’s surprising that there is no mention of Discord servers in the filing, given that several have been associated with the vocal-cloning trend. Then again, the most prominent of those, AI Hub, has already been taken offline following a complaint that the RIAA made to Discord about it earlier this year.