Cross-sector trade group UK Music has set out its key priorities in terms of how artificial intelligence should be regulated as the British government prepares to host an AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park tomorrow and Thursday.
In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the interim CEO of UK Music, Tom Kiehl, confirms that for the music industry there are two key priorities: consent and transparency.
According to a government blurb, the AI Safety Summit will "bring together international governments, leading AI companies, civil society groups and experts in research" in order to "consider the risks of AI, especially at the frontier of development" and "discuss how they can be mitigated through internationally coordinated action".
Kiehl's letter concedes that the impact of AI on the music industry is not really on the Summit's agenda, but adds: "Given the significant cultural influence of music and artists on the public, our concerns are not purely limited to economic and creative impacts. Our issues overlap with how society safeguards democratic freedom, as well protects against the spread of misinformation and consumer harm".
Therefore, "we kindly ask you to ensure any outcomes from the summit and future discussions align with policy solutions to address our music industry’s concerns regarding the future regulatory landscape for AI. While we understand the need to look at the coming opportunities and threats that AI poses, there is an urgent need to address the clear and present threat that generative AI poses to the creative industries and to our members’ livelihoods".
The copyright industries - including the music industry - are adamant that whenever an AI model is trained using existing content, the AI company must first get consent from whoever owns the copyright. To that end, the copyright industries want to ensure that lawmakers and courts do not introduce or recognise any copyright exceptions that could remove that obligation.
"Upholding copyright does not present a barrier to AI development", Kiehl's letter continues. "This is amply demonstrated by many responsible AI developers already operating within the music landscape. Our industry is adept at creating new avenues which give mutual benefit to music and technology, allowing both to flourish".
The UK Music boss then also notes that other creator and performer rights beyond copyright are also relevant with certain uses of generative AI. "The personality, voice and likeness of human creators should be further protected by law against abuse", he states, "in particular misappropriation of the personality in deepfakes and similar manipulations".
As for transparency, Kiehl confirms that the music industry wants AI companies to keep detailed records of any copyright-protected works they use to train their models, and also for AI-generated content to be clearly labelled as such.