A wide coalition of music industry organizations have joined together to release a series of core principles regarding artificial intelligence — the first collective stance the entertainment business has taken surrounding the topic. Announced during the panel “Welcome to the Machine: Art in the Age of A.I.” held on Thursday (March 16) at South by Southwest (SXSW) and moderated by Billboard deputy editorial director Robert Levine, the principles reveal a growing sense of urgency by entertainment industry leaders to address the quickly-evolving issue.

“Over the past few months, I think [generative artificial intelligence] has gone from a ‘someday’ issue to a today issue,” said Levine. “It’s coming much quicker than anyone thought.”

In response to the fast-approaching collision of generative AI and the entertainment business, the principles detail the need for using the new technology to “empower human expression” while also asserting the importance of representing “creators’ interests…in policymaking” regarding the technology. Principles geared toward the latter include ensuring that AI developers acquire licenses for artistic works used in the “development and training of AI models” — and keep records of which works are used — and that governments refrain from creating “copyright or other IP exemptions” for the technology.

Among the 40 different groups that have joined the coalition — dubbed the Human Artistry Campaign — are music industry leaders including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI and more.

Read the full list of principles below and get more information, including the full list of groups involved in the effort, here.

Core Principles for Artificial Intelligence Applications in Support of Human Creativity and Accomplishments:

  1. Technology has long empowered human expression, and AI will be no different.

For generations, various technologies have been used successfully to support human creativity. Take music, for example… From piano rolls to amplification to guitar pedals to synthesizers to drum machines to digital audio workstations, beat libraries and stems and beyond, musical creators have long used technology to express their visions through different voices, instruments, and devices. AI already is and will increasingly play that role as a tool to assist the creative process, allowing for a wider range of people to express themselves creatively.

Moreover, AI has many valuable uses outside of the creative process itself, including those that amplify fan connections, hone personalized recommendations, identify content quickly and accurately, assist with scheduling, automate and enhance efficient payment systems – and more. We embrace these technological advances.

  1. Human-created works will continue to play an essential role in our lives.

Creative works shape our identity, values, and worldview. People relate most deeply to works that embody the lived experience, perceptions, and attitudes of others. Only humans can create and fully realize works written, recorded, created, or performed with such specific meaning. Art cannot exist independent of human culture.

  1. Use of copyrighted works, and use of the voices and likenesses of professional performers, requires authorization, licensing, and compliance with all relevant state and federal laws.

We fully recognize the immense potential of AI to push the boundaries for knowledge and scientific progress. However, as with predecessor technologies, the use of copyrighted works requires permission from the copyright owner. AI must be subject to free-market licensing for the use of works in the development and training of AI models. Creators and copyright owners must retain exclusive control over determining how their content is used. AI developers must ensure any content used for training purposes is approved and licensed from the copyright owner, including content previously used by any pre-trained AIs they may adopt. Additionally, performers’ and athletes’ voices and likenesses must only be used with their consent and fair market compensation for specific uses.

  1. Governments should not create new copyright or other IP exemptions that allow AI developers to exploit creators without permission or compensation.

AI must not receive exemptions from copyright law or other intellectual property laws and must comply with core principles of fair market competition and compensation. Creating special shortcuts or legal loopholes for AI would harm creative livelihoods, damage creators’ brands, and limit incentives to create and invest in new works.

  1. Copyright should only protect the unique value of human intellectual creativity.

Copyright protection exists to help incentivize and reward human creativity, skill, labor, and judgment -not output solely created and generated by machines. Human creators, whether they use traditional tools or express their creativity using computers, are the foundation of the creative industries and we must ensure that human creators are paid for their work.

  1. Trustworthiness and transparency are essential to the success of AI and protection of creators.

Complete recordkeeping of copyrighted works, performances, and likenesses, including the way in which they were used to develop and train any AI system, is essential. Algorithmic transparency and clear identification of a work’s provenance are foundational to AI trustworthiness. Stakeholders should work collaboratively to develop standards for technologies that identify the input used to create AI-generated output. In addition to obtaining appropriate licenses, content generated solely by AI should be labeled describing all inputs and methodology used to create it — informing consumer choices, and protecting creators and rightsholders.

  1. Creators’ interests must be represented in policymaking.

Policymakers must consider the interests of human creators when crafting policy around AI. Creators live on the forefront of, and are building and inspiring, evolutions in technology and as such need a seat at the table in any conversations regarding legislation, regulation, or government priorities regarding AI that would impact their creativity and the way it affects their industry and livelihood.

Kristin Robinson
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