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House of Commons: Abandon AI copyright exemption, MPs say

House of Commons report published today echoes key Equity demands around issues presented by AI and computer-generated performances.

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has today (30 August 2023) published Connected tech: AI and creative technology”. The report cited Equity’s concern with particular issues presented by AI and computer-generated performances alongside the lack of explicit legal recognition of synthetisation in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Equity submitted written evidence to this inquiry and in May our General Secretary Paul W. Fleming gave oral evidence. You can read the transcript here.

There has never been a more urgent time to strengthen legislation to protect the rights of performers

Key policy recommendations for the government (which echo Equity’s demands) include:

  • improve protections for creatives to prevent misuse of their likeness and performances by emerging technologies such as generative AI.
  • bring forward ratification of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances by the time it responds to this report.
  • not pursue plans for a broad text and data mining exemption to copyright.
  • support the continuance of a strong copyright regime in the UK and be clear that licences are required to use copyrighted content in AI.
  • regain the trust of the creative industries following its abortive attempt to introduce a broad text and data mining exemption.
  • consider how creatives can ensure transparency and, if necessary, recourse and redress if they suspect that AI developers are wrongfully using their works in AI development.

Liam Budd, Industrial Official for Audio New Media, said:

“This influential parliamentary report calling for improved legal protections for creatives is another win for Equity’s campaign to Stop AI Stealing the Show. The DCMS Committee is absolutely right that urgent action is needed to safeguard performers from the rapid development of generative AI, which starts with the government dropping their AI copyright exemption for good.”

Laurence Bouvard, Screen and New Media Committee member, said:

“There has never been a more urgent time to strengthen legislation to protect the rights of performers. I’m pleased to see that Parliament has listened to the demands of Equity and the wider creative industry, and the government must now follow suit.”


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