With their sights set on the US Congress, artist- and freelancer- led NGOs are organizing a day of action to demand a block on large corporations being able to copyright works with significant AI-enabled content.
Amid ongoing work in Washington, DC toward regulating Artificial Intelligence, a coalition of NGOs representing the interests of artists, freelancers, and working creators are organizing an #AIDayOfAction. The October 2 grassroots effort will call on Congressional leaders to pass a law blocking large corporations from getting copyrights for works that include significant AI-enabled elements. It comes two days prior to a FTC roundtable on the impact of AI for creators.
The day of action’s demand aims at the heart of economic and human rights concerns when it comes to middle and low income artists and creators. Often, such artists are employed to create “works-for-hire”— corporate intellectual property that the artists themselves retain no rights to. By reducing the rights corporations can hold in significantly AI-enabled works, Congress would disincentivize corporations from replacing human artists with AI in such circumstances.
This day of action comes as the Writers Guild of America won significant concessions and protections for the rights and incomes of their membership after a months-long strike—avoiding a studio-proposed scenario that would have allowed AI to draft scripts, and humans to edit them so that studios can obtain copyrights. While Hollywood actors and writers have unions to defend their interests, most working artists do not.
The website offers easy tools for artists and creators in all mediums, as well as fans, to take action and contact their representatives in Congress to ask that the issue of corporate copyrights and AI be prioritized.
Executive Director of the Freelancers Union Rafael Espinal (he/him) said: “We can’t continue allowing corporations’ stack their bank accounts with money that belongs in the pockets of creators. The unchecked use of AI is poised to be the next great threat to our already decimated working artists, and limits need to be put in place to prevent further exploitation. Congressional leaders must bring Freelancers to the table as they deliberate on how to equitably regulate AI technologies, ensuring that the resulting policies align with those who will be most impacted”.
Lia Holland (they/she) Campaigns & Communications Director at Fight for the Future said: “It’s time for everyone to demand that if corporations want to hold copyrights, they’ve got to at least pay human beings to make their content. We’re calling on Congress to finally force Big Content to face consequences for their historic abuse of US law in the interest of shareholders—and at the expense of working artists, creators, and freelancers of all kinds.”
United Musicians and Allied Workers Organizer Zack Nestel-Patt (he/him) said: “AI represents an existential threat to so many musicians. We know that corporations try to cut out and short change artists wherever they can and we have been shown over and over that we can’t trust corporations to look out for our best interests. Ensuring that only works created largely by humans are eligible for copyright would be a huge step towards protecting our work and our livelihood. Join us!”
Artist-organizers are available for comment, please contact Lia@FightForTheFuture.org