AI Act – GEMA CEO Tobias Holzmüller: “Transparency should be a basic requirement“
What can the EU do to ensure that human creativity and cultural diversity still have a future in the age of streaming and generative AI? This question was the focus of a discussion event in Brussels on 15 November hosted by GEMA together with the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union. High on the agenda: the European AI Act, which aims for the first time to create an EU-wide set of rules for artificial intelligence. The musical highlight of the evening was a live concert by singer-songwriter Alice Merton.
GEMA CEO Dr. Tobias Holzmüller called for a joint effort to make Europe a place where human creativity is appropriately valued. “Artificial intelligence can support the creative process,“ said Holzmüller. “But it must not lead to human creativity being replaced or exploited. GEMA is advocating smart regulation that creates transparency, effectively protects intellectual property rights and enables fair and legally compliant AI.“
Holzmüller welcomed the European Parliament’s position on the AI Act and the latest proposals from the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which provide for such regulations. In the light of the recent stalling of negotiations, Holzmüller warned against a de facto non-regulation of generative artificial intelligence: “Nobody would understand if the AI Act were to fail in the end due to an issue such as transparency, which should actually be a basic requirement. Anyone offering generative AI in Europe must be able to explain what information was used to train it.“ Such regulations would be the minimum that creators expected from an ambitious EU legal framework for AI.
“Yes, it will be tight, because many questions are still unresolved“, commented MEP Axel Voss (EPP) with regard to the timetable of the legislative process. Voss nevertheless expressed his firm belief that “everyone involved has the political will to bring the AI Act to a conclusion“. For him, the key question is “what we need as a minimum in the AI Act to ensure that the authors can ultimately enforce their rights“. He went on to say that the EU’s AI regulation must not lag behind the requirements recently set by the US President.
The Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s DG CNECT, Renate Nikolay, started by emphasizing the importance of music, both culturally as well as an economic sector. “AI is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity for the music sector“, said Nikolay. A major topic was how to deal with training data. In this respect, it would be possible to build on existing copyright law, which included a right to opt out. However, it would have to be ensured “that generative AI does not lead to the exercise of this right being made more difficult or even impossible“, Nikolay continued. In view of the dynamic developments in the field of AI, the AI Act would not be able to clarify all questions conclusively. She therefore assumed that copyright issues would also be a topic for discussion in the next Commission.
GEMA represents the copyrights of around 90,000 members in Germany (composers, lyricists, music publishers) as well as over two million rights holders from all over the world. It is one of the world's largest authors' societies for musical works.
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