The fight against AI progresses as creators concerns see legislation in the EU, whilst the conversation continues in the US.

In a move that could have significant implications for the music industry, the European Union (EU) has introduced the AI Act, a landmark piece of legislation that aims to regulate the development and use of artificial intelligence.

The AI Act includes a number of provisions that are relevant to the music industry, including:

  • A requirement for AI developers to obtain permission from copyright holders before using copyrighted material in their AI models.
  • A ban on AI systems that are used to manipulate or exploit people, including using AI to generate deepfakes or to target people with harmful content.
  • A requirement for AI developers to carry out due diligence to ensure that their AI systems are used in a responsible and ethical manner.

The AI Act is still in its early stages of development, but it is expected to come into force in 2024. The act has been welcomed by music industry bodies, who believe that it will help to protect the rights of creators and ensure that AI is used responsibly in the music industry.

The music industry responds positively, but cautiously

The EU’s AI act is a complex piece of legislation that has been the subject of much debate. The primary concern over many creators is the use of their work to train AI. The AI is then able to generate content that is capable of mimicking those artist’s work.

For example, a singers voice can be replicated using AI and then used to create songs. However, this infringes on that artist’s identity and treads dangerously on a new ethical battleground over the copyrights of someone’s sound. US legislators are currently pushing legal protections on this with their No Fakes Act.

The music industry has cautiously welcomed the outcome of last week’s EU AI act talks, but has warned that more work is needed to ensure that the law protects the rights of creators.

The IFPI wrote: “While technical details are not yet finalised, this agreement makes clear that essential principles – such as meaningful transparency obligations and respect of EU copyright standards for any GPAI model that operates in the internal market – must be fully reflected in the final legislation and its concrete application if we are to achieve our mutual goals.”

CEO of the German collecting society GEMA, Dr. Tobias Holzmüller said: “Those intending to offer generative AI in Europe must be able to explain what contents they used to train it. The results we now have on the table are a step in the right direction, but need to be sharpened further on a technical level.”

ASCAP’s fight against AI in the US continues

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has sent a letter to the U.S. Copyright Office urging the agency to take action against artificial intelligence (AI) companies that are using copyrighted music without permission.

The letter, which was obtained by Billboard, argues that these companies are violating the rights of creators by using their music to train AI models. ASCAP says that this practice is akin to using copyrighted music to make a new song, which is a clear violation of copyright law.

ASCAP’s letter to the U.S. Copyright Office comes shortly after the agency announced that it will be taking a closer look at the use of copyrighted music in AI training. The agency has formed a working group to study the issue and is considering developing new guidelines for AI developers.

Amidst their written concerns, they criticised voice-cloning technology, saying: “Generative AI technology introduces unprecedented possibilities for the unauthorized use of a creator’s image, likeness, and voice. The existing patchwork of state laws were not written with this technology in view, and do not adequately protect creators.”

Interestingly, YouTube have recently begun experimenting with a new tool that actually promotes the AI generation of popular artists’ voices. Their Dream Track tool has been created in conjunction with 9 major artists to create AI-produced song snippets with AI voices for use in Shorts.

The use of copyrighted music in AI training is a complex issue with no easy answers. However, it is important to strike a balance between protecting the rights of creators and allowing for the development of innovative new technologies.

The use of AI in the music industry is a complex issue with far-reaching implications. The AI Act, the EU’s new regulatory framework for AI, could help to address these concerns and ensure that AI is used responsibly and ethically in the music industry. However, the conversation continues globally as the existential threat of AI looms further over artists with each day.