Georgia Tech researcher Mark Riedl didn’t expect that his machine learning model “Weird A.I. Yankovic,” which generates new rhyming lyrics for existing songs would cause any trouble. But it did.
On May 15, Reidl posted an AI-generated lyric video featuring the instrumental to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” It was taken down on July 14, Reidl tweeted, after Twitter received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice for copyright infringement from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents major and independent record companies.
“I am fairly convinced that my videos fall under fair use,” Riedl told Motherboard of his AI creation, which is obviously inspired by Weird Al’s parodies. Riedl said his other AI-generated lyric videos posted to Twitter have not been taken down.
Riedl has contested the takedown with Twitter but has not received a response. Twitter also did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.
The incident raises the question of what role machine learning plays when it comes to the already nuanced and complicated rules of fair use, which allows for the use of a copyrighted work in certain circumstances, including educational uses and as part of a “transformative” work. Fair use also protects parody in some circumstances.
Riedl, whose research focuses on the study of artificial intelligence and storytelling for entertainment, says the model was created as a personal project and outside his role at Georgia Tech. “Weird A.I. Yankovic generates alternative lyrics that match the rhyme and syllables schemes of existing songs. These alternative lyrics can then be sung to the original tune,” Riedl said. “Rhymes are chosen, and two neural networks, GPT-2 and XLNET, are then used to generate each line, word by word.”
Oddly enough, game publishers seem to be able to contest DMCA on YouTube in 20 minutes when they are at a convention. It’s like it’s not being applied fairly at all…