Yesterday, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee published the Government’s response to its August 2023 report, “Connected tech: AI and creative technology”, which considered the impact of connected tech on the creative and entertainment industries, and the UK's proposed regulation of AI.

Cutting through the mountain of buzzwords, the Government’s response to the Committee's recommendations on intellectual property includes the following headlines:

  • Text and Data Mining (TDM). The Government has agreed not to pursue a broad TDM exemption to copyright infringement, which would have provided AI developers with an exemption when training AI systems on troves of copyright-protected material, without the consent of (or sharing profit with) the right holders.
  • Building trust with the creative industries. To regain the trust of the creative industries following its abandoned (and relatively controversial) attempt to introduce a TDM exemption, the Government (supported by a working group of AI firms, AI users, creators, performers, and right holders) is developing a code of practice on copyright and AI to enable the creative industries and AI developers to “grow in partnership”.
  • Impact of AI on the creative industries. The Government has recognised the special risk AI poses to musicians, filmmakers, and journalists (particularly with regard to the relationship between intellectual property and generative AI) and its potential implications for human creativity, and will take a balanced approach to these issues when devising its code of practice on copyright and AI.
  • Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. The Government has committed to adopting the Treaty, which regulates copyright vested in audiovisual performances (e.g. those incorporated into films and other audiovisual formats) and extends the protection of performers’ moral rights. Importantly, the Treaty does not, however, regulate generative AI performances (including deepfakes).

The most important revelation in the Government’s response is no doubt the confirmation that it will not be introducing its proposed TDM exemption, much to the relief of the creative and entertainment industries who broadly viewed it as liable to stifle human creativity and reduce artistic and cultural productions to mere input data.

The confirmation comes in the wake of OpenAI’s statement from earlier this week, in which it claimed that AI systems like ChatGPT are “impossible” to create without copyright-protected material; and so, with pressure mounting on AI developers on all sides with an increasing number of lawsuits from right holders, for the time being, their only alternative to unauthorised use appears to be more licensing deals for training material.