DACS responds to UK Government's new white paper on AI regulation.

    The UK Government’s newly published white paper details plans for implementing a pro-innovation approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) regulation and seeks views through a supporting consultation.

    The ‘AI regulation: a pro-innovation approach’ sets out principles of safety, fairness and accountability in the use of AI, however it does not expressly refer to Intellectual Property. Instead, the white paper highlights recommendations made by Sir Patrick Vallance as part of his recent ‘Regulation for Innovation Review’ which calls on the Government to urgently produce practical solutions to the barriers faced by AI firms in accessing copyright protected materials. 

    In response to Vallance’s recommendations, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will produce a code of practice by the summer which will provide guidance to support AI firms to access copyright protected work, whilst ensuring there are protections on generated output to support rights holders such as visual artists and other creators. 
    To inform the code of practice, the IPO will convene a group of AI firms and IP rights holder representatives to identify barriers faced by users of data mining techniques when accessing copyright materials. An AI firm which commits to the code of practice can expect to be able to have a reasonable licence offered by a rights holder in return. 

    Reema Selhi, DACS’ Head of Policy and International said: 
    “We are pleased to see that the UK Government wants AI to be safe, transparent, and fair. However, visual artists and other creatives have been detrimentally impacted by AI, which uses their data and subsequently artworks, such as images, without their permission to train machine learning. Artists rely on a strong Intellectual Property legal framework to give them a degree of control over the use of their artworks and to enable them to seek royalties to earn a living and sustain their practice from their work. The newly published white paper identifies important principles for AI, but in its current form does not offer adequate security for visual artists’ rights. We want to see assurances that Intellectual Property will be preserved in an AI regulatory framework to best protect UK artists.” 

    Funding and income streams remain a pressing issue for many visual artists, with income from their practice being supplemented with other, often insecure, employment that offers no sick pay or access to pensions.  A recent survey of artists delivering projects to publicly funded institutions highlighted that artists earn a median hourly rate of £2.60. It is vital that government recommendations and policies protect artists’ livelihoods and ensure they are fairly paid for uses of their copyright protected work. 
    DACS expects to be part of the engagement process with the IPO once the work on the code of practice commences and we will respond to the AI Regulation consultation. 
    Further information 
    DACS provided comprehensive evidence and briefings that contributed to the UK Government not proceeding with its AI copyright proposals which would have unfairly impacted artists and other creators when announced last year.  
    The Government’s AI regulation consultation deadline is 21 June 2023. 

    Posted on by Vanessa Giorgo