SCL President Testifies Before Judiciary Committee About AI’s Impact on Creators, Including Songwriters and Composers

Photo credit: Julio Rionaldo

Society of Composers & Lyricists president testifies before Judiciary Committee on impact of AI on creatives, including songwriters and composers.

Ashley Irwin, President of the Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL), testified on behalf of the SCL before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday during the hearing on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property – part one of an ongoing investigation examining the potential implications the rapidly evolving world of AI on copyright and IP law.

Topics covered included the use of copyrighted works in training Generative AI models, copyright protection of works created using Generative AI, and the economic impact of Generative AI on creators and creative industries. Irwin was invited to attend the hearing due to legislative resolutions SCL has offered in light of the ongoing discussion about AI and music.

The SCL is the premier US organization for music creators working in all forms of visual media, and serves as the primary voice for over 3,000 members who are creators of scores and songs for film, television, video games and theater. Irwin has been a composer and arranger for over 40 years and has written music for thousands of hours on film and television shows, and even more for commercials.

“The topic that’s been taking up most of our time lately has been generative AI,” says Irwin. “The rapid adoption of generative AI systems is seen as an existential threat to the livelihood and continued existence of our creative professions unless immediate steps are taken at the legal, interpretative and economic levels to address these emerging issues.”

“Let me be very clear: My goal in addressing issues related to author and creator rights is not to block AI research and use,” Irwin said. “We are simply advocating the creation of a policy framework that ensures that generative AI is developed and used responsibly, ethically, and with respect for human creators and copyright, so that the creative arts – which are the real engine of generative AI – can continue to exist .” blossom.”

“The SCL believes that AI companies and their generative models should adhere to the fundamental “Three Cs”: Consent, Credit and Compensation.

Authors’ consent to the use of their works in generative AI media; indication of source if the works of audiovisual authors are used; Compensation at fair market rates for the ingestion by AI generative machines of any portion of the copyrighted works of human creators and the subsequent output of new derivative works.”

“The protection of authors is not and will never be in conflict with technological developments. Our founding fathers recognized that,” concludes Irwin. “The rights granted to authors and inventors in Article I, Second 8, Clause 8 are specifically to ‘promote the advance of science and the useful arts’.” Respect for copyright and the development of AI should go hand in hand. “

Irwin also discussed three key challenges that generative AI poses for music creators and outlined possible solutions in his written testimony. The first problem is that Generative AI has been endowed with copyrighted human-made works and programmed to mimic those works without regard to the “three Cs” described above.

Second, copyright information (metadata) has been removed during the recording process of these models, and third, the market is being diluted due to AI-generated works that should not be granted copyright protection.