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DACS provides a briefing for a House of Lords debate on risks faced by the creative industries

A white woman hanging a small artwork on a white wall, perspective from above.
Cathy de Monchaux by Anne-Katrin Purkiss. Courtesy of the artist.

DACS provided a briefing to attendees of a House of Lords debate on Friday 7th July on the importance of the creative industries.

Ahead of the debate, in September 2022, DACS submitted evidence for the report 'At risk: our creative future' on the vital importance of a strong, supportive regulatory framework that both protects and enhances intellectual property rights for creators, drawing on the expertise of leading artists, gallerists, and change-makers in the visual arts.

As part of the briefing, DACS made the following recommendations: 

  1. Intellectual Property Rights and AI: Artists rely on copyright royalties to support their practice, and it is essential that AI companies who are using artists’ work fairly reward them. The IP framework should not be eroded and no new exceptions to copyright are needed. 

  2. Implementation of the Smart Fund: Implement the Smart Fund or a similar scheme to ensure artists are compensated fairly when their work is reproduced and shared digitally. As one artist argued, "Fair remuneration isn't a privilege, it's a right.

  3. Digital Skills Development: Increase investment in digital skills training, including funding for artist residency programmes, to equip artists with the skills to navigate the digital landscape. As one artist stated, "Our industry's future depends on our ability to master these new tools."

Addressing the need for robust IP frameworks to protect creators as technology advances, the chair of the Communications and Digital Committee said:

Many sectors marry technology and creativity very well, and generate huge profits in the process, without undermining IP and business models. A fair deal that promotes innovation and supports the creative sector is possible, and we look forward to seeing the Intellectual Property Office’s plans in due course.

Baroness Stowell
The chair of the Communications and Digital Committee

On the question of AI, Lord Foster of Bath urged that no new copyright exceptions should be made that undermine creators’ rights and the UK’s position as a world leader in IP frameworks. Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts and Heritage, acknowledged the importance of harnessing AI whilst mitigating risks around copyright, and confirmed that the Government is working on a code of practice that will allow AI developers and the Creative Industries to work together.

The intersection of AI, digital technology, and the arts demands considered policy actions to ensure artists' rights are protected, and their skills developed, to fully harness technological advancements. Through fair remuneration schemes like the Smart Fund, robust digital skills training programmes, and a revised IP framework, the UK's creative industries can thrive in the digital age.

Read DACS’ original evidence submitted here.