Insights UK Music welcomes the Intellectual Property Minister’s announcement that he plans to scrap introduction of Government’s broad copyright exception for text and data mining purposes

In June 2022 the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) proposed the introduction of a new copyright exception, which would allow the mining of text and data for any purpose, including copying music without permission, and without the option for songwriters and artists to opt out.

UK Music says that the proposal was greeted with a huge backlash from the UK music industry, which likened the plans to “music laundering” and warned of a “catastrophic” impact on the sector.

UK Music says that a strong copyright framework is key to the success of the UK music industry, providing economic tools to creators and those that invest in them. In UK Music’s view, the Government’s proposal would have put this framework at risk and caused huge potential damage to a world-leading UK sector.

After months of campaigning from UK Music to scrap the proposal, last week, in a debate in the House of Commons on the risk to the creative industries of granting a text and data mining exception for Artificial Intelligence (AI), the IP Minister, George Freeman, said he and the DCMS Minister, Julia Lopez, felt that the proposals were not correct and that they would “not be proceeding with these”.

UK Music reports that Mr Freeman said: “We are looking to stop them and to return to office to have a rather deeper conversation with the APPG who I met yesterday, with experts in both Houses and with the industry”. He also said that he was aware that a balance needed to be struck and that it was fair to say that “AI is coming at us as a transformational technology at a pace that in Government we haven’t had to deal with before”.

According to UK Music, Mr Freeman went on to say: “We try and anticipate the challenges that are coming, and get a regulatory framework in the UK that can keep pace with the technology and the issues that it raises.”

Commenting on the announcement, UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “UK Music warmly welcomes the minister’s decision to scrap plans for a catastrophic blanket copyright exception.

“The whole music industry has been united in its opposition to these proposals, which would have paved the way for music laundering and opened up our brilliant creators and rights holders to gross exploitation.

“We are delighted to see the back of a policy that risked irreparable damage to the global success story that is the UK music industry.

“We now look forward to working with the Government to ensure any future plans are evidence-based and allow artificial intelligence and our world-leading creative industries to grow in tandem.” To read UK Music’s press release in full, click here.