AI and Performers’ Rights

Equity have forwarded an interesting motion to the TUC Annual Congress that takes place in early September:

Congress welcomes the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in augmenting technological and social development – if it is used ethically and responsibly. It acknowledges the TUC’s Work and the AI Revolution reports that stress the need for essential practical and legislative safeguards to protect employees and workers, and notably their intellectual property rights.

Congress notes that a central feature of Equity’s Stop AI Stealing the Show campaign is the reform of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (1998) to protect workers from having their image, voice or likeness used without their permission as a feature of AI-made performance synthetisation. This established process creates a synthetic reproduction of image and/or voice, and often without the consent of the artist.

Congress agrees that alongside the vital role of collective bargaining, it is time for the UK government to strengthen the rights of performers by modernising copyright law. This must be a key dimension of the government’s National AI Strategy. Congress endorses Equity’s campaign and will support lobbying and campaigning efforts to achieve:

  1. Reform of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act (1998) to protect against non-consensual synthesisation and to introduce image rights.
  2. Implementation of the Beijing Treaty to enable granting of moral rights that would allow performers to combat the misappropriation of their images, likenesses and performances.
  3. Implementation of provisions within the EU Copyright Directive that enable creatives to achieve fair returns for the use of creative content in new media services.
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