RIAA Alleges Popular ‘AI Hub’ on Discord Violates Copyright

The AI Hub server on Discord has drawn attention from the Recording Industry Association of America, which sent a DMCA takedown notice and is alleging copyright infringement. The users are said to share a wide range of AI voice models, including some based on recognizable performers. Those that may sound familiar are in the style of Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Rihanna and Bruno Mars. AI Hub reportedly has more than 142,000 members that engage in sharing topical information, such as guides. One point that is getting a lot of attention is the RIAA demand that Discord identify the accused infringers.

TorrentFreak reports the DMCA subpoena was issued from federal court in the District of Columbia on June 14 with a letter demanding that Discord “disclose to the RIAA information sufficient to identify the infringers,” including full legal names, payment information and addresses spanning physical to email to IP.

At issue is the use of copyrighted songs for AI model training (as opposed to the end-result), although TorrentFreak said that is unclear.

Whether any of it breaks the law has yet to be proven, but the debate is lively and playing out across several forums: the federal courts, the U.S. Copyright Office and Congress. Things are changing rapidly as stakeholders navigate new waters.

While the Copyright Office in February rejected the notion of registering work generated by AI, it later clarified that if humans had meaningful input the human element may be copyrightable, but must be documented.

While Universal Music Group was clear in expressing its opinion that AI copycatting of Drake in April violated copyright, it has yet to file suit. The opposing argument goes something like it isn’t a replica if it’s generated.

Why AI simulations differ from, say, designer knockoffs, which are regularly quashed by courts, is apparently not as cut and dry as it seems. The music companies are watching as lawsuits brought on behalf of visual artists and companies like Getty Images that represent them wind through the courts, with Stability AI, Midjourney and DeviantArt on the receiving end.

In the matter involving Discord, the RIAA seems more interested in the individuals than the platform. Specifically, it has asked Discord to remove the AI Hub and its files and links, and inform the admins and uploaders that their conduct is illegal, among other things.

“Discord hasn’t taken the complete server offline, as the RIAA requested, but several messages have since disappeared,” TorrentFreak reports. Nor has it provided the personal user data. The attention came with a rise in AI Hub users, which grew from 82,000 in May to 143,000 in weeks.

Discord has until the end of the month to comply with the requests or formally oppose them, TorrentFreak says, quoting an RIAA spokesperson saying it seeks to “ensure that lawless systems that exploit the life’s work of artists without consent cannot and do not become the future of AI.”

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