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Songwriters Converge on Capitol Hill to Shape AI Music Regulations

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AI Music Regulations

In a noteworthy convergence of musical talents and legislative minds, a group of influential songwriters is set to gather with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. Their mission: to advocate for the establishment of legislation that will govern the use of artificial intelligence in music. Among the illustrious names attending this congressional rendezvous are the likes of Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Paul Williams, Madison Love, Cirkut, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Matthew West, to name just a few. This assembly of musical virtuosos is part of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers’ (ASCAP) “Stand With Songwriters” advocacy day.

At the heart of their mission lies ASCAP’s “six principles” for AI in music, which serve as the guiding light for this ambitious endeavor:

  1. Human Creators First: A resolute commitment to prioritizing the rights and compensation of human creators, ensuring that AI remains a tool to augment human creativity rather than replace it.

  2. Consent: Upholding the fundamental right of creators to decide whether their work is included in an AI training license. In essence, it’s about giving artists the power to say “yes” or “no” to AI utilization.

  3. Compensation: Ensuring that creators are justly compensated whenever AI is involved in any aspect of their work. The emphasis here is on a free-market approach, rather than government-mandated licensing that might impede consent.

  4. Credit: Providing due credit to creators when their works are utilized in the creation of new AI-generated music. It’s about acknowledging the artists whose contributions have shaped the musical landscape.

  5. Transparency: Demanding transparency in distinguishing AI-generated works from those created by humans and retaining essential metadata. This transparency is vital to maintain the integrity of musical creation and ensure proper attribution.

  6. Global Consistency: Striving for a level playing field that upholds the value of intellectual property across the global music and data ecosystem.

The upcoming meetings follow a night of musical celebration at the Library of Congress, with the ASCAP Foundation-sponsored “We Write the Songs” concert, featuring performances by some of the very songwriters who will be advocating for these principles on Capitol Hill.

In a passionate statement, Paul Williams, ASCAP’s chairman of the board and president, underscored the essence of their mission: “True music comes from deep within our souls; it’s human-first, heart songs, revealing and often healing our human condition. Now we need Congress to put humans first, stand with songwriters, and protect our rights to our own musical works. Don’t give them away to AI.”

The issue of artificial intelligence in music remains a hotly debated topic within the industry. While artists like Holly Herndon and Grimes have embraced AI’s role in music creation, major record labels have grappled with the rapid rise of AI-generated songs and the accompanying copyright complexities. Notably, an anonymous creator known as Ghostwriter has produced songs mimicking the styles of Drake and Travis Scott, captivating online audiences. However, this has posed a challenge for fans and rights holders in determining the legitimacy of these works. Harvey Mason Jr., chief executive of the Recording Academy and a distinguished producer, has clarified that Ghostwriter’s tracks are ineligible for Grammy Awards submission.

As the realms of music and technology continue to intersect, the question of who truly owns and shapes music in the age of AI remains a pivotal concern. The meeting between these prominent songwriters and Congress represents a crucial step in defining the future of music creation and safeguarding the rights of the creative minds behind the melodies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AI Music Regulations

What is the purpose of songwriters meeting with Congress?

The purpose of songwriters meeting with Congress is to advocate for legislation governing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in music. They aim to establish rules that prioritize human creators’ rights, ensure fair compensation, protect consent, provide credit, maintain transparency, and ensure global consistency in AI-generated music.

Why are songwriters concerned about AI in music?

Songwriters are concerned about AI in music because it raises important questions about ownership, compensation, and creativity. They want to ensure that AI is a tool to augment human creativity, not replace it, and that their rights and contributions are protected in the digital age.

What are ASCAP’s “six principles” for AI in music?

ASCAP’s “six principles” for AI in music include:

  1. Human Creators First
  2. Consent
  3. Compensation
  4. Credit
  5. Transparency
  6. Global Consistency

These principles emphasize prioritizing human creativity, protecting consent, ensuring fair compensation, giving credit to creators, maintaining transparency in AI usage, and achieving consistency in global intellectual property standards.

What happened at the “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress?

The “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress was sponsored by the ASCAP Foundation and featured performances by some of the songwriters involved in the advocacy efforts. It was a celebration of music and creativity and served as a precursor to their meetings with Congress.

How does the issue of AI in music affect the music industry?

The issue of AI in music has divided the music industry. While some artists embrace AI as a creative tool, major labels grapple with copyright complexities arising from AI-generated songs. The industry is also dealing with challenges related to determining the legitimacy of AI-generated works, as seen with anonymous creators like Ghostwriter.

Why is protecting human creativity in music important?

Protecting human creativity in music is vital because it preserves the essence and authenticity of art. Songwriters believe that music is a deeply human expression that should not be overshadowed by AI. They want to ensure that artists retain control over their work and receive fair recognition and compensation.

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