It’s Kind of Scary but Exciting: Generative AI

17 NOV 2023

It was around this time last year the company OpenAI launched its much ballyhooed protect: ChatGPT. Since then, AI has been a focal point in most discussions. The technology used in ChatGPT is called Large Language Model (‘LLM’) and chatboxes like ChatGPT generate content when exposed to large datasets, including books and websites. Only a couple of months ago, prominent authors filed a class-action against OpenAI for copyright infringement. However, copyright infringements related to generative AI is not limited to chat boxes. They extend beyond ChatGPT to music industry or image generation.

In light of the recent release of the Beatles’ song ‘Now and Then’ on 2 November 2023, in this blog we will discuss the tension between the use of generative AI and copyright infringements.

Written 45 Years Ago, Released Now: Now and Then

On 2 November 2023, a new Beatles song ‘Now and Then’ was released. The group, which publicly disbanded in 1970 following Paul McCartney’s announcement and tragically lost one of its member in 1980, has now released a new song featuring the voices of all its members. The question is, how? The answer lies in innovative technology: Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’).

John Lennon began writing this song 45 years ago and recorded a demo with piano and vocals at his home in New York two years before his assassination. Later, in 1995 the band members, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison worked on the song with the intention to release it. However, at that time, technology limitations prevented them using Lennon’s recorded vocals.

Today, in 2023 artificial intelligence software has achieved what was impossible approximately 30 years ago. The AI technology, by removing background noise, improved the sound quality and isolated Lennon’s voice. Then, they mixed the record as it would be done in regular music production. Although this incredible technology opens up exciting possibilities to restore many old recordings, as Paul McCartney himself expressed, ‘it’s kind of scary’. In this instance, although the song reproduced was belonging to the group itself, the use of AI raises serious questions about intellectual property (‘IP’) infringements.

Copycat Songs

The use of AI, although in the case of Now and Then led to achievements beyond what technology in 1995 could accomplish, also poses the great risk of generating copycat songs. Recently in April 2023, Universal Music Group (‘UMG’), controlling more than 30% of the  global music market, instructed streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music to prevent AI services from extracting melodies and lyrics from their copyrighted songs. The Group represents artists such as Elton John, Taylor Swift, U2 and Harry Styles.

Generative AI is frequently trained on popular music. This, therefore, allows anyone to ‘compose’ a song with their preferred lyrics by blending the style of various artists. If we are to put this more into context, it allows you to compose a song using the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ in the style of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ even if you hold no rights to either of these songs. Google’s recent development is a perfect example of this situation.

In the beginning of this year, Google announced its new experimental AI tool called MusicLM.  MusicLM is a model that was trained from a dataset comprising 280,000 hours of music and generates music from any text description. So, by putting a prompt like ‘upbeat pop for a workout session’ the model generates two versions the song and allows you to rate the versions which later contributes to the enhancement of the model itself. After its announcement however, Google decided not to release the product due to potential misappropriation of creative content. Alternatively, if we put it plainly violation of copyright. But what is the music industry’s standing against the generative AI.

The Industries Stance Point against Generative AI

It should be made clear. No one is opposing the development of AI. The issue lies in the unauthorised use of any kind of content, whether it’s books, music or even the information posted on websites.

Moreover, no one is disregarding or objecting the valuable creations that generative AI can produce, such as the recent Beatles’ song ‘Now and Then’ released three decades later due to technological advancements. Unfortunately, Now and Then is one in a million.

In all industries emphasis is placed on understanding the nexus between IP and AI as well as appreciating what amounts to unlawful use of recordings in any kind or form.

Prominent music corporations, such as Universal, will not hesitate to protect both their own and their artists’ rights in cases of copyright infringements. The firm has stated that it holds a ‘moral and commercial responsibility’ to its artists to prevent the unauthorised use of their works as well as to stop streaming platforms from incorporating content that is in violation of their artists’ rights.

What’s To Come

Globally, discussions on the regulation of AI are underway, notably in the US and the EU. While these efforts revolve more around establishing safeguards against fake content or election interference, the EU AI Act proposal introduces transparency requirements for generative AI. The proposed regulation mandates generative AI, so chatboxes likes ChatGPT or the way Now and Then was produced, to publish summaries of copyrighted data used for training. These requirements could potentially mitigate copyright infringements. Here in the United Kingdom, although the government does not currently plan to enact a specific AI related legislation, it acknowledges the need for AI systems to possess a sufficient level of transparency.

Quoting Paul McCartney who remarked, ‘AI is kind of scary, but exciting because it’s the future’ we are awaiting the unfolding impact of generative AI’s involvement on our lives and legal disputes.

Yulia Barnes

Managing Partner

Yulia Barnes is our Managing Partner. She is an experienced solicitor and advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters for both private and corporate clients.

Experience Yulia started her legal career at a large international Magic Circle firm. She then became a partner at a regional law firm and headed a Dispute Resolution Department. She then moved in-house before starting her own Boutique practice, Barnes Law, with the aim of providing exclusive services to high net-worth individuals and privately-owned businesses. More details can be found on her LinkedIn profile.

Expertise Yulia and her team are widely recognised for their professional and practical approach to matters. She is committed to ensuring that her clients’ objectives are achieved in the most cost-effective way possible.

Approach Yulia has a wealth of experience working with businesses of all sizes: from large multinational corporations to start-ups. She has particular expertise in a hospitality industry, investment funds, private and corporate clients, and focuses on startups and technology-driven companies. Yulia brings the same level of attention to detail, professionalism and a personal touch to every case and client, and truly immerses herself in her clients’ businesses. She prides herself on her problem-solving, commercially astute approach and her track record of partnering with clients to help them achieve their strategic objectives.

Will Moran


Will joined Barnes Law as an Associate Solicitor in Spring 2023, shortly after qualifying in September 2022.

Will works mostly on real estate and corporate/commercial matters. Will enjoys providing advice on transactional matters.

Away from the office, Will can be found reading or playing golf. While he played rugby until university, and rowed throughout his degree, he now tends to watch both from the sidelines. During the winter he can also be found skiing.

Will plans to continue developing his legal skills and experience at Barnes Law, under the expertise and guidance provided by Yulia.

Mark Corran


Mark is an experienced solicitor whose practice areas include intellectual property (IP), IT, data protection and general commercial law.

Mark advises businesses of all sizes – from sole traders to corporations. Among his clients are: clothing and lifestyle brands, restaurants and food suppliers, IT companies, banks, hedge funds and venture capital firms, education providers, medical and pharmaceutical brands.

Outside of his practice, Mark also advises members of the Institute of Directors as part of its Directors’ Advisory Service.

Recent transactions
  • Prosecuting a UK trademark application on behalf of an education provider and representing them in related UK IPO opposition and revocation proceedings;
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  • Advising footwear brands, alternative asset managers and hedge funds on their global brand protection, including overcoming various refusals, representing them in opposition proceedings and settlement negotiations;
  • Representing a central bank in opposition proceedings before the UK IPO;
  • Advising a lifestyle brand concerning trademark clearance and protection, negotiations for a website/app development and maintenance agreement.

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Family Law Adviser

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She advises on all three pillars of separation: divorce, children matters and financial settlements. Ioulia is a member of Resolution and is keen to try to settle matters at early stages.

Ioulia is dedicated to assisting clients and navigating them through their legal matters with clarity and support.

Alex Reidy


Alex joined Barnes Law in September 2023 after finishing his master’s degree in law. Prior to joining Barnes Law, Alex worked in property litigation at Ashfords. Alex assists Yulia on a variety of both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Outside of the office, Alex enjoys reading and hiking. Prior to working in law, Alex was a competitive tennis player.

Alex continues to develop his skills in legal practice under Yulia’s guidance, he plans to sit the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exams (SQE) in 2024.


Mehves Selamoglu


Mehves joined Barnes Law in August 2023, right after graduating from Queen Mary, University of London (LLB Senior Status). As part of her qualification journey, Mehves is currently pursuing her Legal Practice Course (‘LPC’) at the University of Law. She also holds a degree in European Union Law from Maastricht University, Netherlands.

Mehves works closely with Yulia on a variety of contentions matters and also writes Barnes Law’s legal blogs, manages social media accounts and is responsible for marketing.

Outside of work and studies, she enjoys running, tennis and yoga.

Mehves is looking forward to developing her legal skills at Barnes Law.


Julia Podgornova

Investor Relationship Manager

Julia guides clients in making important business decisions based on comprehensive risk assessment and strategy. She supports investors in devising strategies designed to maximise each business’s potential from pre-seed to IPO.

Julia’s particular area of expertise are IT start-ups at different stages. Julia supports business through their fund-raising journey. As an Investor Relations Manager, Julia communicates with investors to facilitate a smooth round and legal part of each transaction.

In her free time Julia enjoys sailing, ballroom dancing, art exhibitions and travel.