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New survey shows 89% of UK artists want the Government to better protect their work by regulating AI

Still life mixed media
Gordon Cheung, New Order Fruit Piece (after Jan van Huysum c 1722), 2022, © Gordon Cheung. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2023

The survey response clearly shows how important the topic of AI is to artists, from the opportunities AI offers to the threat it can pose to the earning potential of artists and the abuse of their works. UK artists are advocating for greater governmental action and DACS is proposing five policy recommendations to help protect the rights and livelihoods of UK artists amid the rapid evolution of AI technologies. These include enhancing transparency and adopting blanket licensing schemes administered by trusted brokers such as DACS. To maintain the UK's status as a global leader in the cultural and creative industries, it's imperative for the government to act, offering stronger protection for artists and their creations.

Christian Zimmermann
Chief Executive at DACS

A pivotal new report ‘Artificial Intelligence and Artists’ Work’ published by DACS has revealed significant insights about UK artists' concerns and expectations regarding AI's impact on their work and livelihoods.

The survey, engaging 1000 participants with 352 providing in-depth comments, underscores a growing unease among UK artists about how unregulated AI could negatively impact their careers, future opportunities and copyright, and that the rapid development of the technology has created a skills shortage.

Additionally, there is substantial backing among UK artists for the government's role in safeguarding their copyright and livelihoods in the face of advancing AI technologies. This support underscores the imperative for government intervention to ensure the sustainability and growth of the UK's £126 billion a year cultural and creative sectors, reinforcing its status as a prominent global force in these industries.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 74% of artists are concerned about their work being used to train AI models.
  • 95% of artists feel they should be asked before their work is used to train AI models.
  • 93% of respondents felt they should be credited when their work was used to train AI.
  • 94% of respondents felt they should be compensated financially when their work is used to train AI.
  • 89% of respondents feel the UK Government needs to bring in safeguards and regulation around AI.
  • 84% of respondents would sign up for a licensing mechanism to be paid when their work is used by AI.
  • 96% of respondents have had no formal training in AI.

In response to these findings, DACS has proposed five policy recommendations to the UK government.

Consent, control and compensation
AI models must comply with copyright law and artists must authorise the use of their works for AI training.

AI models must be open about what data or artworks have been used for training.

Government must establish safeguards and regulations that address use of personal data, misinformation and deepfakes.

International competitiveness
Government should adopt blanket licensing and levy schemes as a way to remunerate creators for the use of their work, like many other countries have done.

Incentivising human creativity
Government must improve pay and work for artists and incentivise skills and training in AI for all ages.

Read the full 'Artificial Intelligence and Artists' Work' report