You may have heard a new song by pop sensations Drake and The Weeknd pop on social media last weekend.
The song “heart on my sleeve,” about The Weeknd’s ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez, went viral racking up more than 20 million views on Twitter, and 11 million views on TikTok.
Only one problem — none of it was real.
The song was created by an anonymous TikTok musician named Ghostwriter977 using AI-generated replicas of the artists’ voices.
Universal Music Group (UMG) was not amused. The publishing company had all music streaming platforms pull the deepfake track on Monday. It was yanked from YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Amazon, SoundCloud, Tidal, and Deezer earlier today.
In a statement, UMG said using generative AI in their artists’ music “represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law.”
The music publisher added that it had a “legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists.
Related: The Future Founder’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence
Legal and ethical questions raised
Using AI to replicate an artist’s vocals infringes on their IP, but it’s unclear whether the Fake Drake song violated copyright laws since the musical composition was original.
“We’re all waiting for some court’s decision that’s going to tell us whether training data is OK or not OK,” said Edward Klaris, Media Lawyer at Klaris Law told NBC News. “Here, they’re using all the pre-existing songs to create new songs.”
He added that “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.'”
Aside from the song’s legalist, UMG questioned the ethics of those who create and consume songs like “heart on my sleeve.”
“It 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.”