Leading global organizations representing artists, creators and performers have issued a powerful and united call for global solutions that compel Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies to responsibly compensate creators for their works that “are exploited”. This resounding demand aims to regulate generative AI technologies and protect the copyrights of musicians worldwide against unauthorized use by AI systems.
The cultural sector and international creative community will be among those most impacted by unbridled development and the open use of generative AI models. Policymakers around the world have heard from creators and performers whose works and performances are being used to train AI without their authorisation, remuneration, or even recognition, often under the guise of “research”. There is furthermore a general, societal sense of unease around AI-generated works and the deception of passing off AI works as works of human creativity.
In an open letter addressed to governments and policymakers, prominent bodies such as the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), Latin American Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ALCAM), Asia-Pacific Music Creators Alliance (APMA), AEPO-ARTIS, African Music Academy (AMA) and the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM) among other organizations representing over 6 million artists, creators, performers and publishers globally, have outlined seven essential principles to ensure the ethical implementation of artificial intelligence, especially generative AI. The key principles highlighted in the letter are as follows:
1. Creators’ and performers’ rights must be upheld and protected when exploited by AI systems
AI systems analyse, scrape and exploit vast amounts of data, typically without authorisation. These datasets consist of musical, literary, visual and audiovisual works and performances protected by copyright. Those copyright works and datasets have a value, and creators and performers should be in a position to authorise or prohibit the exploitation of their works and performances and be compensated for such uses.
2. Licensing should be enabled and supported
Licensing solutions should be available for all potential exploitation of copyright works, performances and data by AI systems. This would encourage open exchanges between innovators who require the data, and creators and performers who wish to understand how and to what extent their works will be used.
3. Exceptions for Text and Data Mining which do not provide for effective opt-out by rightsholders should be avoided
The introduction of exceptions, including for text and data mining (TDM), that permit AI systems to exploit copyright works and performances without authorisation or remuneration must be avoided. Some existing exceptions should be clarified, in order to provide legal certainty for creators of the underlying data and performers, as well as for AI systems wishing to benefit from such data.
4. Credit should be given
Creators and performers must be entitled to obtain recognition and credit when their works and performances have been exploited by AI systems.
5. Transparency obligations should apply to ensure fairer AI practices
Legal obligations relating to disclosure of information should apply. These should cover (i) disclosure of information on the use of creative works and performances by AI systems, in a sufficient manner to allow traceability and licensing (ii) identification of works and performances generated by AI systems, as such. This will ensure a fair approach towards creators, performers, and consumers of creative content.
6. Legal responsibility for AI operators
There should be legal requirements for AI companies to keep relevant records. There should also be effective accountability for AI operators for activities and outputs that infringe the rights of creators, performers, and rightsholders.
7. AI is only an instrument in the service of human creativity, and international legal understandings should reinforce this
AI models should be considered as simply an instrument at the service of human creativity. While there is a spectrum of possible levels of interactions between humans and AI to consider when defining the protectability of works and performances, policymakers should make clear that fully autonomous AI-generated works cannot benefit from the same level of protection as human-created works. This topic should be an urgent priority and global discussions should be initiated rapidly.
The cultural sector and international creative community acknowledge the valuable purposes for which AI is currently being applied. However, in the case of generative AI, it is vital for policymakers worldwide to act, adapt and enhance existing regulatory regimes. Crucially, the cultural sector and international creative community must have a seat at the table during those policy discussions to ensure their interests are duly incorporated, and AI systems are transparent, ethical, fair, and lawful.