Artificial intelligence is booming. Dozens of companies are enthusiastic about its potential and many regular people are tinkering with it too.
The ‘AI Hub’ Discord server was the place to be for true AI enthusiasts. In just a matter of months, it grew from zero to a thriving community of more than 500,000 members.
Through the server, people shared the latest tips and tricks, new developments, but also complete models. They included voice models of popular musicians including Bruno Mars, Frank Sinatra, Rihanna, and Stevie Wonder.
Whether the models themselves are infringing is a question yet to be answered in court. However, the models are trained using commercial music, and openly sharing a library of copyrighted tracks is a clear no-go.
RIAA Targeted “AI Hub” Users
AI Hub was well aware of these sensitivities and didn’t allow members to post copyrighted content. The message apparently didn’t reach all members, which prompted the RIAA to step in earlier this year.
The RIAA represents the rights of American music companies and keeps a very close eye on the AI landscape. When it discovered copyright-infringing content being shared on the AI Hub server, the industry group took the matter to court.
RIAA obtained a DMCA subpoena to obtain the identities of several members who allegedly shared infringing content. Whether this also included voice models wasn’t clear, but the shared datasets with copyrighted music were definitely problematic.
As part of its legal efforts, the RIAA also asked Discord to shut down the AI Hub server, which at the time had just over 80k members. Discord didn’t take action against the server at the time, but the RIAA actively reminded the company to appropriately deal with repeat infringers.
“AI Hub” Shut Down
Following the RIAA’s enforcement effort the server continued to grow. While most members obeyed the rules, there were some outliers. This week, AI Hub was taken down completely, presumably in response to repeat copyright allegations.
It’s not clear whether the RIAA had anything to do with the server’s downfall. A new server, which snatched the .gg/aihub invite link, now welcomes former members and provides more context.
“AI Hub was banned because of copyright, apparently someone did the trick of editing posts and added several links with copyrighted content, which left Discord with no option but to DMCA the server,” the new server explains.
This backup server has nothing to do with the original AI Hub, and we obviously can’t verify any of its claims. TorrentFreak reached out to our contact at the original server but they didn’t immediately reply.
Whack an AI-Mole
Based on the information available, it does indeed seem likely that AI Hub was taken down in response to repeat copyright complaints. Despite its size, Discord only processes a few hundred DMCA takedowns per month, and a subset of these complained about content on AI Hub.
While Discord has to comply with the DMCA – which includes taking action against repeat infringers – it would be rather broad to shut down a community over allegations against a minority. That said, we don’t know all the details so there might have been bigger issues. Discord didn’t immediately reply to our request for comment.
This likely isn’t the end of it though. Given the success of AI Hub, there are several new servers lined up to take its place. Many of these might face similar problems in the future if they continue to grow. After all, it’s virtually impossible to control everything posted by 500k+ members.
This means that we will continue to see an AI whack-a-mole. But perhaps AI can fix that problem eventually, if it’s allowed to.