UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl has urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to respond to the music industry’s concerns around artificial intelligence (AI) by introducing some form of legal protection around the developing technology.
Kiehl and UK Music have suggested that AI could be a form of “music laundering,” opening up a potential means for creatives to not receive compensation for their work.
Sunak recently insisted that “the UK’s answer is not to rush to regulate” the use of artificial intelligence.
In a letter to the PM, Kiehl urged copyright protection on music and emphasises that AI firms consent to use artists’ copyright-protected work.
“Machine learning involves numerous rights, including copyright, which in most countries are not subject to an exception that restricts creators and rightsholders’ abilities to exercise their rights,” he wrote. “As a general principle, the use of music during the ingestion process (in the past, present and future) should always require permission from the creator and the rightsholder.”
He adds: “Failure to ensure this basic human right will jeopardise thousands of UK jobs and threaten the fragile talent pipeline on which the music industry relies to nurture the music professionals who are the envy of the world.”
He also emphasised the importance of transparency elsewhere in the letter. “AI platform providers need to keep an auditable record of the music used to train the machine before the algorithm can generate new music. This is the only point in the process when these data points can be duly documented,” he wrote.
“Music generated by AI should be labelled as such to protect the consumer from confusion. Consumers need to be able to make an informed decision before acquiring goods or services.”
You can read Tom Kiehl’s full letter to Rishi Sunak here.
The use of AI in the creation of art has remained a hot-button topic throughout 2023. Yesterday, Spotify founder Daniel Ek revealed that the company will not be banning music generated by AI on the platform.
Artists that have spoken out against AI include Hozier (who has considered striking in protest), Noel Gallagher (who called the creators of a fake Oasis album “fucking idiots”) and Nick Cave (who described it as “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”).