of performers working in AI think the government should regulate “deepfakes” and AI manipulation of likenesses.
think the government should introduce new legal protections for performers.
felt they didn't have a full understanding of their performers’ rights before signing the contract.
UK law is failing to protect performers' rights. We need to act now.
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown rapidly across the entertainment industry in recent years, from automated audiobooks and voice assistants to deep fake videos and text to speech tools. But UK law has failed to keep pace and this is leading to performers being exploited.
As a union, we are fighting to change that. Our campaign aims to get the government to recognise the threat posed by AI, update the law, and to get industry leaders onside so that artists can feel safe in the knowledge that their intellectual property is protected.
Help us get started. Take action today: Lobby your MP.Lobby your MP
We know that:
Performers are having their image, voice or likeness reproduced by others, using AI technology, without their consent.
There are no UK laws explicitly written to regulate AI. This includes the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which provides the legal framework for performers’ intellectual property.
The government has still not adopted the Beijing Treaty, which would help Equity members combat the misappropriation of their images, likenesses, and performances.
Our member survey found found that:
- 94% think the government should introduce new laws to regulate “deepfake” technology and make it illegal for an individuals’ image to be manipulated using AI without their consent.
- 93% think the government should introduce new legal protections, so that a performance cannot be reproduced by AI technology without their consent.
- 79% of performers who have undertaken AI work felt they did not have a full understanding of their performers’ rights (as set out in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) before signing the contract.
The government wants to make the UK a global AI superpower by “harnessing the opportunities and benefits that AI technologies present”. They also plan to deliver a “light touch” approach to regulation with a voluntary code of practice for AI firms and no new legislation.
Here are our campaign wins so far:
In April 2022, we launched our campaign calling on the government to strengthen rights for performers with a groundbreaking report. Since then, Equity members have worked incredibly hard getting this issue onto the political agenda by raising the alarm with MPs, fellow creatives and allies.
Thanks to the campaigning of Equity members, the government has backed away from introducing their data mining exemption policy, which could have had catastrophic implications if implemented. An influential Committee of MPs in the House of Commons also published a report calling for improved protections for creatives after listening to Equity’s General Secretary speak in Parliament. You can read more about this campaign win here.
We need to keep the pressure up to ensure this measure is not re-introduced and make a strong case for improved legal protections.
Lobby your local MP to stop the government introducing a new data mining exemption and sign a parliamentary motion in support of our campaign.
Spread the word on social media about our campaign to protect and strengthen performers' rights.
It is very important that you are familiar with the evolving landscape and understand your rights. Read our toolkit to get clued up on everything you need to know.
How else we are fighting for our members
Our recent AI Vision Statement outlines eight principles for the entertainment industry to adopt when engaging artists for AI. We are seeking to implement these principles by improving our existing collectively bargained agreements; negotiating new agreements with companies who specialise in performance cloning; and helping to educate members, agents and other industry partners about performers’ rights and the ethical use of AI.
Help improve the working lives of our members and protect the professionalism of audio work.
Everything you need to know about AI and work in the arts and entertainment industry