UK Lawmakers Demand AI Copyright Law U-turn to Protect Creatives

A parliamentary committee report argues the AI copyright exemption risks reducing creative works to ‘inputs’ for AI training

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

August 31, 2023

2 Min Read
MPs said the ABBA Voyage experience was an example of creative institutions ‘embracing innovation to develop immersive creative and cultural experiences.’ABBA Voyage

At a Glance

  • UK lawmakers demand the government abandon plans to allow AI developers to use copyrighted works without permission.

British lawmakers have demanded the U.K. government abandon plans to allow AI developers to use copyrighted works to train models.

The government announced in February that it was reversing a decision to allow AI developers to access protected works for training purposes without permission from the copyright owner.

However, no movement has been made. MPs now want to see some action on the removal of the exemption, arguing that it “shows a clear lack of understanding of the needs of the UK’s creative industries.”

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report that warned if the exception isn’t removed, it “risks reducing arts and cultural production to mere ‘inputs’ in AI development.”

Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “The chorus of warnings from musicians, authors and artists about the real and lasting harm a failure to protect intellectual property in a world where the influence of AI is growing should be enough for ministers to sit up and take notice.

“The government must now start to rebuild trust by showing it really understands where the creative industries are coming from and develop a copyright and regulatory regime that properly protects them as AI continues to disrupt traditional cultural production.”

The committee said the government should “proactively support small AI developers” rather than issue a blanket data mining exemption to copyright. The report argues that licensing schemes should be reviewed to support smaller developers who would find it more difficult to acquire licenses to protect content.

The report suggests the government has lost the trust of creatives, adding that the exception plan “shows a clear lack of understanding of the needs of the UK’s creative industries.”

“All branches of government need to better understand the impact of AI, and technology more broadly, on the creative industries and be able to defend their interests consistently,” the report reads.

The report also calls for improved protections for creatives to prevent misuse of their likeness and performances by AI. To support this, the report calls for an expedited accession to the World Intellectual Property (WIPO)’s Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which regulates copyright for audiovisual performances and expands the performers' rights.

Among other recommendations, the committee’s report calls for the government to address skills shortages in the cultural sector to “ensure that creatives’ rights are protected from AI-generated media in the future.”

The report also called on the Government to ensure support for the creative industries when using creative technology and highlighted efforts like ABBA Voyage, the virtual concert for the smash hit Swedish group that has a residency in London.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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