With over 142k members, the ‘AI Hub’ Discord server is a thriving community that opens the door to lots of AI-related content.
There’s a wide variety of information available, including voice models of major musicians such as Bruno Mars, Frank Sinatra, Rihanna, and Stevie Wonder.
All of this information can be used to make homebrew AI tracks that mimic the sound of one’s favorite artists. This is a highly controversial topic in the music industry, with many insiders suggesting that commercial use of these models could breach copyright law.
Exactly what is allowed and what isn’t is a topic of legislative debate. In the United States, for example, Congress is actively looking into the matter through a series of hearings.
RIAA Targets ‘AI Hub’ Discord Server
The RIAA, which represents the rights of American music companies, is keeping a very close eye on the AI landscape. In a letter sent earlier this month, the anti-piracy group effectively asked Discord to shut down the AI Hub server.
Whether the voice models are the main issue here is unclear. It’s certainly possible that the music group views the complete datasets of music posted by some users as more problematic.
The letter to Discord simply states that AI Hub is dedicated to copyright infringement of its members’ works.
“We have learned that Discord is operating and/or hosting the below-referenced Discord server(s) on its network. This server(s) is/are dedicated to infringing our members’ copyrighted sound recordings by offering, selling, linking to, hosting, streaming, and/or distributing files containing our members’ sound recordings without authorization.”
Shut Down Server, Ban Repeat Infringers
The anti-piracy group wants the server taken offline and warnings issued to its operators. Specifically, the RIAA asks Discord to take the following steps:
(i) remove and/or disable access to this Discord server
(ii) remove the files or links from your system, including any mirrored or duplicate copies of those files or links, and/or that you disable all access to the infringing files and associated links
(iii) inform the server operator/s and the uploader/ to that server(s), as applicable, of the illegality of their conduct.
In addition, repeat-infringers should be permanently booted from the platform, the group notes, which would be in line with Discord’s copyright policy.
This strongly worded letter is a follow-up to a similar request sent in late May. At the time, the AI Hub server had 82k users but in the space of just a few weeks, that number has grown to a massive 143k and counting.
Infringing Voice models?
Discord hasn’t taken the complete server offline, as the RIAA requested, but several messages have since disappeared. The letter came with a list of URLs that are going nowhere now.
The reported links don’t reveal the nature of the content. TorrentFreak asked the RIAA for more detail on their takedown notice and whether it sees voice models as copyright infringements, but the group couldn’t go into detail citing “pending litigation”. More on that later.
We can’t independently confirm that voice models were targeted but some suggest that this could be the case. A few hours ago, Discord user StakenS reuploaded a Frank Sinatra model, which was originally posted by another user.
“Reupload because I am not scared to go to jail,” they write, adding that the takedown request likely came from a Frank Sinatra rightsholder that doesn’t appreciate the AI model.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions based on this post, but it’s likely that this voice model, and others, were removed because they included links to full datasets. This is what AI Hub admin “.tea” believes is what happened.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, .tea notes that despite RIAA’s takedown letters, Discord didn’t reach out to the server’s operators directly.
“The admins were informed about [RIAA’s takedown letter], not through Discord though, we heard from the people who actually got the letter. Discord has not contacted us as of yet,” .tea says.
The admin hasn’t seen voice models being targeted in isolation either and believes that datasets with infringing tracks from RIAA members are the real problem. This content isn’t allowed on the AI Hub server, so the operators don’t mind seeing that removed.
As for the users who posted the content, there’s nothing to suggest that prison sentences are on the horizon. That being said, the RIAA did go to court a few days ago hoping to learn more about the alleged infringers.
DMCA Subpoena Targets AI Hub Users
At the federal court for the District of Columbia, the anti-piracy group obtained a DMCA subpoena that requires Discord to identify the alleged infringers. The subpoena was sent to Discord on June 14th with an accompanying letter.
“[Y]ou are required to disclose to the RIAA information sufficient to identify the infringers. This would include the individuals’ names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, payment information, account updates and account history, as available,” the letter reads.
Discord has until the end of the month to comply with the request, if it doesn’t formally oppose it.
In response to our questions, RIAA didn’t go into detail on the potential repercussions of this action. However, it stresses that AI itself isn’t the problem. Their enforcement efforts are focused on those who exploit the work of artists without consent.
“The creative community supports AI that is ethical, follows the law and respects creators’ rights. But when those who seek to profit from AI train their systems on unauthorized content, it undermines the entire music ecosystem – harming creators, fans, and responsible developers alike.”
“This action seeks to help ensure that lawless systems that exploit the life’s work of artists without consent cannot and do not become the future of AI,” the RIAA spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the AI Hub server remains online. In a public announcement, the admins reiterated that uploading entire datasets containing copyrighted content directly to Discord is not allowed.
“Please do not upload datasets to the server or any copyrighted material. We have 0 tolerance for this kind of stuff”,” the announcement reads.
A copy of all the documentation referenced in this post, which was obtained by TorrentFreak, is available here (pdf)