The music industry is preparing for its latest policy battle in Europe, and it’s focused on artificial intelligence. Specifically, on the European Union’s proposed AI Act, which we last wrote about in May.
It’s now going through the ‘trilogue‘ negotiations process, which is where three key institutions in Europe – the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission – hammer out the details of new laws, while being assailed from all sides by lobbyists hoping to influence the final legislation.
The AI Act deals with a wide gamut of applications for AI technologies, including copyright and the creative industries. Yesterday, a group of bodies representing music, news media, film and TV production, photo agencies and more teamed up to set out their lobbying stall.
In short, they think that in its draft form, the AI Act is “a first step in the right direction” with its proposals to “oblige AI providers to record the data used to train AI, including material protected under copyright law, and to make this available in a sufficiently detailed way for right holders to identify and enforce their rights”.
However, they want to “make further improvements” before the Act becomes law. The group of industry bodies – including the IFPI, GESAC, ICMP, Impala and IMPF from our world – set out some of these yesterday.
One of the key points is their desire to avoid what they call “AI laundering” – where models are trained on copyrighted content without licences outside the EU (in countries where the laws allow that) but then their services or the output of their AIs is available in the EU.
There is, as ever, more to this story than just the public demands of the industry bodies. Billboard ran a piece yesterday (the timing is no coincidence) claiming that “big-tech lobbyists are trying to weaken copyright protections in the EU’s AI Act”.
This positions the AI Act as yet another fight between the technology and creative industries, albeit with some new faces (ChatGPT-maker OpenAI for example) on the tech side. As the trilogue process continues, we can expect both sides to continue lobbying in public – but just as importantly, also in private, where the gloves may really come off.