Artists go to war with AI ‘creators’ like ChatGPT

Nick Cave is his own harshest critic. “This song sucks,” the 65-year-old singer-songwriter said, as he looked back over “his” lyrics. “[It is] a grotesque mockery

of what it is to be human,” he added. “The apocalypse is well on its way.” Cave was not passing judgement on his own penmanship, however. Instead, the Bad Seeds frontman was

reacting to a song that had been conjured up in his style by a fan using artificial intelligence (AI). The outburst, published in a lengthy blog post, is perhaps the most

colourful reaction to the use of AI in the arts. But Cave’s comments are not merely the grievance of a popstar’s slighted ego. The advancement of AI into the arts is

reigniting an age-old debate over where the line between original composition and rip-off lies – and, crucially, what that means for who gets paid. Rapid improvements in AI

are opening up a new legal battleground as artists try to cling to their rights in an ever-changing media landscape.  “The question becomes whether you can disconnect the

concept of creativity in law,” says Sophie Goossens, partner at law firm Reed Smith. “Can you disconnect copyright from a human being and could you recognise that in a robot that

is creating something?” Not if artists have anything to do with it. The disputes recall the battles over the use of samples in hip-hop and dance music in the 1980s, which

saw musicians who were sampled by DJs claw back rights for payments through the courts. Disputes are still going on today. The debate over AI in art has been given new

impetus by ChatGPT, a AI language engine seen as a huge leap forward for the technology.