Oct 10, 2023 1 min read

Independent publisher group sets out ethnical guidelines for music-making AI

The global trade group for independent music publishers has set out some guidelines for the development of music-making AI, calling for technology companies to secure consent from copyright owners, be transparent about training datasets, and clearly label AI-generated music

Independent publisher group sets out ethnical guidelines for music-making AI

The Independent Music Publishers International Forum yesterday set out four ethical guidelines for the development and use of music-making generative AI. They were published as the trade group gathered for its Global Music Entrepreneurial And Creative Industry Summit in Spain.

Noting that AI is "here to stay" and "in many cases … will actually enhance our work and lives", IMPF President Annette Barrett said: “We should not fight these advancements, but it would be negligent to give tech developers free rein when it comes to the use of artistic human work - which carries its own irrefutable, intrinsic value - to enable machine learning".

In summarised form, the IMPF AI guidelines are as follows...

  1. All interested parties in the field of AI application should comply with the basic tenets of intellectual property and copyright law.
  2. Records should be kept of musical and/or literary works used in the machine learning process.
  3. There should be clear differentiation and demarcation between human-created and AI-generated musical works.
  4. Furthermore, there should be a delineation between assistive AI and fully generative AI applications.

A number of music industry organisations have now published statements setting out what they believe to be the obligations of technology companies training AI models with existing recordings and songs. Those different statements have made more or less the same demands, including around respecting copyright law, securing consent from copyright owners, and transparency.

The UK's Council Of Music Makers published its five fundamentals of AI last month. Those went a little bit further in demanding that the consent of individual artists and songwriters should be sought, even if the music-makers do not own the copyright in their music.

Whereas most of the other industry statements - including yesterday's IMPF guidelines - talk about the consent of the music-maker or the rightsholder being secured, possibly implying the latter could license rights they control to an AI company without getting the former’s approval.

A document setting out the IMPF guidelines in more detail is available here.

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