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AI-Generated music: A Comprehensive Analysis from an IPR Perspective

Apr. 08, 2024   •   Satyam Mishra

Student's Pen  


“I lost my voice. He was my soul I was mere flesh’’, were the words of the showman RAJ KAPOOR when he heard about the death of legendary playback singer MUKESH. Poetry and song have been integral to human expression and communication for centuries, serving as vehicles for conveying emotions, thoughts and experiences that are unique to the human experience. Through poetry and song, we explore the depths of human emotions, contemplate the complexities of existence and share our stories with others. These art forms allow us to connect with our own humanity and with the shared experiences of others, transcending individual differences to find common ground as members of the human race.,

The article deals with the profound intersection of AI and music, unravelling a nuanced narrative that transcends centuries of musical evolution in India. Further, the article navigates through ethical considerations, legal challenges, and landmark judicial precedents, addressing the complex dynamics of protecting voices, performance rights, and personality rights in the era of AI.


Music in India is a rich cultural asset, with a vast and diverse range of styles and traditions. Indian music plays a crucial role in shaping cultural identity. It includes various genres like classical, folk, rock, and pop, influencing spiritual practices, social events such as weddings and funerals and providing entertainment.

The journey of Indian music starts with the Vedic period. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, is known as the foundation stone of music in India. As time passed, music developed and spread across the subcontinent, being shaped by different cultures and religions. From medieval synthesis, and colonial influences, to global impact on Bollywood. In today's landscape, the integration of AI-generated music adds a novel dimension, blending tradition with technological innovation, sparking discussions about the intersection of creativity and artificial intelligence.


The song "Thimiri Yezhuda" from Laal Salaam sounds like it was sung by two of the great singers of the Tamil industry, Bamba Bakya and Shahul Hameed. In fact, it was actually A. R. Rehman who had used an AI for the recreation of the voices of the late singer.

AI can be used in music creation by composing scores, making recordings, manipulating voices, refining tracks and crafting lyrics. While this boosts creativity, it raises questions about who owns the content and potential legal issues. where the lines between the human touch—the soul, emotion, creative intuition and artificial intelligence get blurred. The blend of AI and music reshapes the industry, stirring discussions about how it impacts art and rules.

Can a voice be protected by Copyright? 

A voice cannot be protected under the copyright act but one can protect his voice through performance. However, a voice in isolation isn’t likely to be protected. Singers are classified as performers under Section 38 of the Copyright Act.

Section 38(a) grants them their whole life plus 50 years post-creation of control over their performance and Section 38(b) empowers their creative presentation and indulges in the process while protecting them from unauthorized broadcasts or recordings. In the event of the death of the singer, these rights can also be enforced and exercised by the trusts and legal heirs of the singer.

Personality Rights:

Article 21 of the Constitution grants the Right to Privacy which includes Personality Rights. The Supreme Court in K.S. Puttaswamy case highlighted that this right protects one's identity from unauthorized commercial exploitation. However, the incorporation of AI in music creation poses a dilemma, sparking concerns about the unapproved use of a singer's voice. There's a worry that AI might mimic or even outshine a singer's talent without consent, raising issues of potential deception, harm to professional reputation and a threat to artistic expression and genuine personality rights. In India, the personality rights are not heritable and cease to exist upon one’s death.


Though India lacks specific legislation related to AI-generated music, the judiciary has played an important role from time to time in keeping balance between one’s personality right and creative expression.


In the present landmark case related to personality rights, the actor’s voice was imitated to promote a lottery ad. The Court affirmed that "when the distinctive voice of the celebrity is widely known and is deliberately imitated in order to sell a product, the sellers have appropriated what is not theirs and have infringed the celebrity’s personal and moral rights.".

It was the first Indian case in which the court recognised the commercial value of a celebrity's distinct characteristics like: image, signature and voice.


The legal case involves the singer who was not credited as the lead singer, underscores the significance of recognizing artists for their contributions and safeguarding their intellectual property rights in the music industry. The dispute centered on the unauthorized use of the singer's vocal and the misrepresentation of her name in a song, emphasizing the importance of proper attribution and acknowledgment of artists' work. Furthermore, the case shed light on the concept that a live performance in a studio even in the absence of an audience constitutes a performance that warrants recognition and protection. This acknowledgement reinforces the idea that artists' performances whether recorded or live hold value and merit credit and respect for their creative input.


The case raised issues related to unlawful commercial benefit derived from misrepresentation, passing off and the protection of personality rights in sports event. The court ruled that “the right of publicity stemming from the right of privacy is applicable exclusively to individuals or elements indicative of an individual's personality.”. Encompassed within its purview are physical attributes such as name, facial features, distinctive hairstyles, voice, photographs, candid video recordings and signatures among others.

The judgment highlighted the importance of protecting personality rights in the context of sports events and preventing unauthorized commercial use of intellectual property associated with such events without consent.


There are a number of AI tools that can generate music based on a voice sample and the majority of these tools are available free of cost which raises ethical considerations because a recognised face or voice can influence consumer behaviour making it a sought-after commodity in the advertising world. The recent trending reels on PM Modi’s voice is an example of the use of voice without the permission of the person.

In the recent case involving late SP Balasubrahmanyam, the actions taken by the 'keedaa cola' team raise concerns about the legality and ethics of reproducing the voice of a deceased singer without obtaining permission from their family. The situation not only raises question about the potential impact on the family's livelihood but also poses a moral dilemma.


The use of AI in generating music on the one hand reduces time and additional resources on the other hand, the advent of digital platforms, social media and advanced technologies has amplified the challenges associated with enforcing personality rights. Deepfake where AI is used to create hyper-realistic but entirely fake content can replicate voices and likenesses with alarming accuracy, leading to potential misuse.

There is an urgent need to form legislation that will cover precisely AI-generated content, including music, to avoid issues of artistic integrity and creativity. Although the judiciary is supportive of this concept there are a few disadvantages to traditional litigation in this field, including the issue of jurisdiction. In cases where one party has foreign jurisdiction and a different set of laws are being followed, it can be challenging to comply with all the conditions. Additionally, urgent remedies are needed in such disputes but courts follow proper procedures and most faculty members do not have in-depth knowledge about this concept, making it a time-consuming process. However, the country has come a long way in understanding and providing legal remedies to the aggrieved party.

The prevailing Copyright Act of 1957 in India does not explicitly address AI-generated works or acknowledge artificial intelligence. Therefore, establishing a framework to address instances of copyright infringement involving AI-generated music and determining the legal mechanisms available for asserting rights against such works is necessary.


The voice of the singer is an integral part of his personality. Their physical appearance will fade away with time but the voice they have devoted to the song will remain immortal.

In the coming days, India may face challenges related to AI-generated music, leading to ethical concerns and potential infringements. To address these issues, ethical laws will play a crucial role.

Ultimately, India, being a highly populated country with a wealth of young talent has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is the responsibility of the government, particularly the judiciary to determine how to protect individuals' rights and foster this talent.

This Article has been written by Satyam Mishra, BALLB Student of University of Allahabad.

The author affirms that this article is an entirely original work, never before submitted for publication at any journal, blog or other publication avenue. Any unintentional resemblance to previously published material is purely coincidental. This article is intended solely for academic and scholarly discussion. The author takes personal responsibility for any potential infringement of intellectual property rights belonging to any individuals, organizations, governments or institutions.

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