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Is there anyone in the music industry who hasn’t yet put their name to a set of desired principles, guidelines or regulations for generative AI technologies? 2023 has seen a succession of announcements.

We’ve had The Human Artistry Campaign’s seven core principles for AI applications in March; UK Music’s position paper on AI in July; a one-two jab of suggested regulations – here and here – from creative industry bodies the same month; and the Council of Music Makers’ five fundamentals for music AI in September.

Now there’s another one for the list, from the Independent Music Publishers International Forum (IMPF). It has published “ethical guidelines on generative artificial intelligence” that boil down to four principles.

First: that AI developers should seek express permission to use music when training their models. Second: that they should keep records of the musical works used in that process. Third: that purely AI-generated music should be labelled as such, and fourth, that it should not receive copyright protection.

(The IMPF did note that there are “practical challenges in establishing whether a work is created by a human with the assistance of an AI application or generated without any human involvement”. It accepts that the first category of those does deserve copyright protection.)

All of this pretty much mirrors the previous principles and guidelines. The music industry has been quick to coalesce around the main planks in any regulation of generative AI: permission, fair payment and transparency.

As we noted at the time, the Council of Music Makers’ fundamentals introduced some spice into the mix. They made it clear that its members – it’s an umbrella body for organisations representing artists, songwriters, producers and their managers – expect the permission, fair payment and transparency obligations to apply to rightsholders just as much as to AI firms.

In any case, the audience for all of these documents are policymakers, particularly in the European Union, where a new ‘AI Act’ is currently being crafted.

“We should not fight these advancements, but it would be negligent to give tech developers free reign when it comes to the use of artistic human work – which carries its own irrefutable, intrinsic value – to enable machine learning,” said IMPF president Annette Barrett.

“We have established these four key ethical principles to strike a careful balance between progress and protection, to assert creative rights and, ultimately, to forge a healthier relationship between the creative and technology industries.”

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Music Ally's Head of Insight