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Why did artificial intelligence spark a controversy over the ownership of songs in Egypt?

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) – Egyptian composer Amr Mostafa’s announcement of the use of artificial intelligence technology in his new project, Revival of Heritage, sparked a dispute over the property rights of songs in Egypt, as Mostafa believes that his project “does not infringe on the ownership rights of old words or melodies, but rather uses old musical form in the performance of new songs”.

On the other hand, producer Mohsen Jaber, owner of the “Stars” company that owns the rights to Umm Kulthum’s songs, considers that using the voice of “Kawkab al-Sharq” to perform a new song is “an assault on the company’s rights.”

This dispute began with Mustafa publishing, an audio clip of a song, on his official Facebook account, last Thursday, announcing the use of artificial intelligence to perform Umm Kulthum for a song composed by him.

After that, the media reported a statement attributed to Jaber Company warning Amr Mostafa against using the voice of the late Umm Kulthum or using her name and image because of the company’s moral rights, citing a similar incident of a company that reproduced the voices of international singers, which prompted the global company “Universal” to warn her and demand compensation.

Mostafa said that the audio clip he published as part of a project aimed at reviving the ancient heritage with new songs through the use of artificial intelligence technology, explaining that the project is not related to a specific singer – meaning Umm Kulthum – but only targets the latest internationally known technology to revive the heritage of the ancient Egyptian song through lyrics and melodies. New to Egyptian youth.

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After Mohsen Jaber’s warning, Mustafa deleted the name and image of Umm Kulthum, and wrote confirming that the heritage revival project exists, but no person’s image or name will be used, in order to preserve the rights of others, and he republished the clip of the song entitled “I Think About You” again without mentioning a name or image. .

In response to the producer’s announcement to sue Mustafa for using Umm Kulthum’s melodies, Mustafa commented in exclusive statements to CNN in Arabic, saying: “Mohsen Jaber does not have the old words or melodies of Umm Kulthum so that he can sue me for using them,” adding: “Nor will the late singer’s voice be used.” No artwork will even announce suing me for it.”

He continued, “I did not attack producer Mohsen Jaber, and I did not infringe on any of his property rights. Even the images published with the audio clip are available on the Internet and were not commercially exploited until he infringed on his company’s property rights.”

He pointed out that there are a number of songs that he composed that were used in songs produced by Mohsen Jaber without compensation for my literary right in them, and I gave him 48 hours to obtain ownership of the songs’ melodies again, after which the court will resort to adjudicating the matter.

Amr Mostafa emphasized that the heritage revival project using artificial intelligence technology does not conflict with intellectual property rights because no name or image of a specific singer was used. The Egyptian intellectual property law stipulates that the property rights of the song belong to the author of the lyrics and the composer, and the current project uses new words and melodies that have nothing to do with the old songs.

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In televised statements to the “Hazrat Al-Citizen” program, Mohsen Jaber confirmed his ownership of all the songs and heritage of Umm Kulthum, and that using them is an “attack on property rights”, rejecting the idea of ​​invoking Umm Kulthum’s voice to perform a song composed by Amr Mustafa.

In the same context, the media reported statements by lawyer Yasser Kantoush, announcing his intention to file lawsuits for the heirs of Umm Kulthum against Amr Mostafa for using her voice to perform a song composed by him through artificial intelligence.