Worldwide Independent Network calls for creation of AI ‘licensing marketplace’ in new manifesto

Courtesy of Worldwide Independent Network
The Worldwide Independent Networks' Gee Davy (L) and Noemi Planas.

The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN), which represents indie music trade associations worldwide, has called for the creation of a “licensing marketplace” for the development of AI technology, alongside the release of a new set of principles to guide AI development.

WIN’s new “guidance on generative artificial intelligence” includes five key principles:

  • AI development is subject to copyright
  • Prioritizing a human-centered approach
  • Safety of creators, fans, consumers and the public
  • Transparency as a fundamental element
  • Ethical AI development hand-in-hand with music

“The thousands of independent music businesses that make up WIN’s membership play a vital role in promoting new talent and diversity of genres and languages in the global music marketplace,” WIN said in a statement issued on Tuesday (May 21).

“These principles highlight their call for consistent high standards across the globe, as well as to engage with AI developers to build a licensing marketplace that works for the benefit of all.”

WIN’s AI manifesto comes as music companies around the world navigate the complex new world of AI, working to maximize the technology’s potential for artists and businesses while addressing challenges such as deepfakes of artists and the unauthorized use of copyrighted music in training AI models.

“The global independent music community welcomes new technological developments which respect the value of music and creators’ rights,” WIN CEO Noemi Planas said.

“These principles for generative AI are the result of extensive consultation with independents around the world and align with our recently published Global Independent Values. With these principles provided as a compass, we look forward to collaborating with responsible AI developers and inspiring policymakers around the world.”

Amid the explosion in AI technology over the past few years, music companies have taken a variety of approaches to addressing the threats and opportunities the technology represents.

“The global independent music community welcomes new technological developments which respect the value of music and creators’ rights.”

Noemi Planas, Worldwide Independent Network

Some have attempted to address the issue of unauthorized use of music in training AI through the courts. As one example, Universal Music Group is among a group of music companies suing AI developer Anthropic for alleged infringement of lyric copyrights by Anthropic’s chatbot Claude.

There are also efforts at passing laws that would regulate the use of AI.

In the US, the recently-passed ELVIS Act in Tennessee and the proposed No AI FRAUD Act at the federal level are meant to address the issue of deefpakes by extending rights of publicity, such as the right to one’s own likeness and voice.

That legislation has garnered the backing of numerous groups representing the music industry and artists.

In the European Union, the recently-passed AI Act mandates that developers of “general purpose AI” keep track of, and make publicly available, what content was used to train their AI models. The law also requires AI developers get the permission of rights holders to use copyrighted materials in training, but with certain exceptions, the limits of which are not entirely clear.

Most recently, Sony Music Group sent a letter to 700 AI developers and music streaming services, notifying them that it’s “opting out” of having its intellectual property used in the training of AI. The letter also suggested that these AI developers may already have violated Sony’s copyrights.

On the other side of the issue, many music companies are experimenting with AI technology to help artists create music, and to improve their business functions.

“With laws and regulations around AI emerging around the world, it’s essential to ensure they properly support human artistry and innovation.”

Gee Davy, Worldwide Independent Network

Last year, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music Group (WMG) joined YouTube’s ‘Music AI Incubator,’ a project to responsibly develop AI-driven music-making tools with the input of artists.

UMG last year struck a partnership with AI-driven music-making platform BandLab, in what the companies called “an expansive, industry-first strategic relationship concentrated on artificial intelligence.”

Both UMG and WMG’s Spinnin’ Records have signed partnerships with AI-generated wellness music company Endel, while Sony Music Group last year hired its first-ever Executive Vice President for Artificial Intelligence.

“AI is a hugely exciting technology with far-reaching benefits and potential new commercial and creative avenues. The recent wave of generative AI tools creates both opportunities and a very legitimate concern to protect music and musicians from bad actors who seek to undermine the value of music rather than engage constructively,” said AIM CPO and Interim CEO Gee Davy.

“With laws and regulations around AI emerging around the world, it’s essential to ensure they properly support human artistry and innovation. The global independent music community believes in leadership through knowledge-sharing and inclusive discussion.”

Davy added that WIN’s AI principles were created “to provide the basis for meaningful collaboration and create a successful and creative future for AI in music, to the benefit of all participants.”Music Business Worldwide

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