ALCS calls for greater safeguards for creators and copyright

CEO Barbara Hayes has backed calls from the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Select Committee for a clear strategy on AI to safeguard creators and intellectual property rights.

The CMS Committee has published the Government’s response to its report Connected tech: AI and creative technology, which raised concerns from across the creative sector about allowing the AI developers to exploit intellectual property for profit, without sharing those profits with the original creators.

The response confirms that the Government no longer intends to pursue its proposal for a broad copyright exception for text and data mining. This was proposed in 2022 but subsequently withdrawn following heavy criticism from ALCS and partners across the creative sector.

It also says that the Government will provide a more comprehensive response to the Committee’s suggestions when they publish the response to their white paper A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation, and launch their Cultural Education Plan, both of which are expected in “the coming months”.

ALCS Chief Executive Barbara Hayes said:

“Whilst we are encouraged by the Government’s decision to withdraw the broad text and data mining exemptions in its original proposals, the committee’s report suggested the Government go further to ‘support the continuance of a strong copyright regime in the UK and be clear that licences are required to use copyrighted content in AI’.

It is disappointing that the Government has not taken this opportunity to reassure creators by accepting calls from the Committee to review licensing frameworks.

Without a clear plan to review licensing schemes, or indeed to develop a transparent copyright framework through properly administered licensing and permissions regimes, this remains a missed opportunity to reassure creators that their works will not be used without consent or fair remuneration in the development of AI and its outputs.”

Chair of the CMS Committee, Dame Caroline Dinenage MP said:

“We are pleased to see the Government commit to developing a Code of Practice on Copyright and AI and to exploring stronger legal protections for creators whose likenesses are misused by generative AI.

However, without a definitive plan of action, we are concerned that AI will continue to pose a threat to creators’ intellectual property.

The Government must move quickly to show it is serious about the issue and rebuild trust with the creative industries.”

The Society of Authors has launched a survey for writers, illustrators and translators on their attitudes towards generative artificial intelligence, as well as the ways in which they utilise the technology in their work. You can find the survey here.

You can learn more about our work around AI and authors here.

The CMS report and Government response can be found here.