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Don’t allow AI to mine UK creators’ data – music industry

Senior music industry figures ask the government to scrap a 'dangerous and damaging' plan

UK Music, the umbrella body for the UK Music industry, has urged Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to abandon plans to allow artificial intelligence companies to ‘launder’ music to generate new content. 

The organisation’s intervention comes on British IP Day (Wednesday 6 June) and is supported strongly by every UK Music member: AIM, BPI, FAC, The Ivors Academy, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, and PRS for Music.

The move follows the publication of the Government’s response to its consultation Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property: copyright and patentswhich has triggered a fierce backlash across the UK music industry. 

Specifically, the response gives a green light to text and data mining (TDM), stating: ‘For text and data mining, we plan to introduce a new copyright and database exception which allows TDM for any purpose… These changes make the most of the greater flexibilities following Brexit. They will help make the UK more competitive as a location for firms doing data mining… Rights holders will no longer be able to charge for UK licences for TDM and will not be able to contract or opt-out of the exception. The new provision may also affect those who have built partial business models around data licensing’. 

Writing to Dorries, UK Music’s Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin warns of the ‘drastic, unintended consequences’ that the proposed changes could have on the UK’s music industry. 

Njoku-Goodwin said, ‘These proposals would give the green light to music laundering – if the government truly wants the UK creative industries to be world-leading, they must urgently rethink these plans.’

In its letter, UK Music says the industry is ‘greatly concerned about plans to allow third parties to use creative works, including music, for data mining purposes, without the need for creators and rights holders to provide permission’. 

It calls on the Government to urgently reject the current plan ahead of any proposed legislation to ensure that the basic principles, which are the bedrock of the UK music industry, are not significantly undermined.