Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Legal

UK creative industries welcome new report from House Of Lords committee – which also hits out at proposed AI copyright exception

By | Published on Wednesday 18 January 2023

Artificial intelligence in music

Reps for the UK’s creative industries have welcomed a new report from the Communications And Digital Committee of the House Of Lords in Parliament. Perhaps unsurprisingly as the report basically says that the UK government should put more focus on those creative industries, and ensure creative businesses are “at the heart of the UK’s economic growth plans”.

Summarising the new report, the committee states that “government complacency risks undermining the UK’s creative industries in the face of increased international competition and rapid technological change”.

“The UK’s creative industries should sit at the heart of the UK’s economic growth plans”, it then adds, concluding that ministers too often fail to recognise the sector’s commercial potential.

“The UK’s creative industries were worth more than £115 billion to the UK economy before the pandemic and make up as many as one in eight businesses across the country”, the Lords go on.

“Their contribution to the economy in 2019 was more than the aerospace, life sciences and automotive industries combined. The sector also delivers higher levels of innovation than many other areas of the economy”.

The term “creative industries” is defined quite widely in political circles, though for this specific report – called ‘At Risk: Our Creative Future’ – committee members consulted representatives involved in music; performing and visual arts; museums and galleries; book publishing; gaming; film and TV; photography; and digital and design services.

The various recommendations made by the committee – with the key points focused on tax breaks, intellectual property law and education – will all be very much welcomed by the music industry.

In particular on the IP law front, its comments on recent proposals by the UK government to introduce a new copyright exception covering text and data mining by those working on artificial intelligence technologies.

UK Music previously said that new exception would be “dangerous and damaging” and allow AI companies to “launder” music in order to generate new content.

The Lords committee agrees. Among its key recommendations it says: “The Intellectual Property Office’s proposals to change the text and data mining regime are misguided and should be paused immediately”.

“The proposals were intended to support the development of AI, and could enable international businesses to scrape content created by others and use this for commercial gain without payment to the original creator. This would threaten business models and income streams in the UK creative industries”.

Meanwhile, on education, the committee says: “There should be a cross-government focus on skills shortages in the creative industries”.

“The Department For Education should encourage students to learn a blend of creative and digital skills; improve careers guidance; reverse the decline in children studying design and technology; change lazy rhetoric about ‘low value’ arts courses; and make apprenticeships work better for small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industries”.

The new report was formally welcomed by Creative UK, the organisation that speaks for the wider creative industries.

Its CEO Caroline Norbury said yesterday: “I very much welcome the House Of Lords Communications Committee’s call for the creative industries to ‘sit at the heart of the UK’s economic growth plans'”.

“The creative sector has long outperformed the wider economy and other industries in driving economic growth and job creation, and yet, as the Committee’s report finds, there has been a failure to recognise and capitalise on this potential”.

“Missed opportunities not only undermine the power of the UK’s creative industries, they risk diluting our position as a world-leading creative powerhouse, especially in the face of unprecedented technical advancements that are embraced by our global competitors”.

“Continuing to think of UK creativity as a ‘nice-to-have’, subsidised by the taxpayer, will blunt the sector’s capacity to transform our society for the better. Financial support for the creative industries is not a costly public burden, on the contrary, it is a vital investment to unleash economic growth, accelerate innovation, underpin the UK’s global soft power, and provide social and wellbeing benefits to communities across the country”.

“The UK is bursting with creative brilliance, but too often a lack of opportunities or barriers to success prevent these talents from flourishing”.

“The recommendations set out by the House Of Lords Communications Committee would provide a much-needed step towards cultivating an environment where creative skills are celebrated, the value of original intellectual property is recognised, and research and development receives the investment required to realise new, unexpected and transformational possibilities”.

You can access the committee’s report here.