Principles for Copyright and Generative AI

The arrival and rapid development of generative artificial intelligence (AI) presents many potential benefits and opportunities for individuals and society. However, without appropriate guardrails, generative AI also risks damaging and undermining many aspects of society, and in particular the creative industries.

The creative industries are a significant and growing sector, worth £109bn annually to the UK economy1, and employ more than three million people in the UK.

As generative AI systems develop, it is vital that rightsholders have the option to choose whether and how their works are used in training and in outputs, and that generative AI systems through their technological design comply with copyright law and provide adequate transparency for the purposes of scrutiny.

In addition to a robust regulatory framework, the principles outlined below must form part of the policy framework to ensure that generative AI is developed safely, ethically and legally. Generative AI must value the role of authentic human creation and the development of generative AI systems should not diminish the fundamental purpose of copyright i.e., to incentivise creativity and innovation by remunerating rightsholders. Generative AI systems must operate within the copyright framework whenever they generate value from the use of copyright-protected works.

If generative AI systems are to thrive and deliver trusted quality outcomes which in turn will lead to greater adoption and use of such systems – supporting not just the UK’s economy, but its aspiration to be a global leader in AI – then it is imperative that any Code of Practice on Copyright and AI should be founded on the following principles:

  • Compliance with Copyright law – the UK’s ‘gold-standard’ copyright framework must be respected and adhered to by generative AI systems which use rightsholders copyright-protected works to their economic benefit. Generative AI providers must have appropriate licences in place to govern the use of copyright-protected content in the training of their systems.
  • Creator choice – permission is required for the use of rightsholders works by generative AI. It must be simple for rightsholders to communicate whether they want their works to be used for training generative AI before ingestion and training takes place, and rightsholders’ decisions must be respected.
  • Fair Remuneration and Compensation – If rightsholders choose to allow their works to be used to train generative AI, they must be remunerated fairly – and this extends to compensation for any retrospective, unauthorised use. The authors, artists and publishers that CLA represents rely on the revenue generated from licensing of their copyright not only to make a living but also to support the investment of time and resources needed to create new works.
  • Transparency – As a minimum requirement, AI firms must be transparent about which copyright works have been ingested and used to train Large Language Models (LLMs) – including those LLMs currently in use. Accessible information on the copyright works ingested and used in training will help to ensure that rightsholders receive fair compensation, will help to mitigate risk of bias within machine learning systems, and will help users to make informed decisions about the trustworthiness and ethics of generative AI systems. The ability to scrutinise the use of copyright works is not only for the benefit of rightsholders but also for the users of generative AI.
  • Attribution – it must be clear whether a work has been created by a human, by generative AI, or is a hybrid creation. Rightsholders’ works must be accurately attributed when included in generative AI outputs.
  • Authenticity – it must be clear to an individual what outputs from generative AI are authentic and which are not. Any manipulation and / or use of copyright-protected works by generative AI systems should not undermine the integrity, accuracy or original meaning of the original works.

We will continue to review our principles as the technological landscape evolves. We look forward to continuing to work with the UK government to support positive legal and regulatory developments in this area to ensure the fair treatment of creators and rightsholders.