Universal Music Exec Calls On Senate to Regulate AI: ‘Ensure Creators Are Respected and Protected’

A Marvel concept artist and illustrator also testified to the Judiciary Committee

AI and copyright
Copyright is a thorny issue in artificial intelligence, and new lawsuits are emerging all the time.

Companies using artificial intelligence software are shamelessly ripping off artists from film and music, and it will get worse if not regulated, members of the entertainment industry told U.S. Senators at a hearing Wednesday.

“Artists and human creativity must be protected. Art and human creativity are central to our identity,” s, executive vice president of business and legal affairs for Universal Music Group, told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“AI in the service of artists and creativity can be a very, very good thing,” Harleston said. “But AI that uses or worse yet appropriates the work of these artists, their name, their image, their likeness, their voice, without authorization, without consent, simply is not a good thing. Congress needs to establish rules that ensure creators are respected and protected.”

The  Senate Judiciary Committee is considering how Congress can legislate protection for artists and creative work from exploitation and outright theft from companies using AI technology.

Karla Ortiz, a concept artist and illustrator who worked on Marvel films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Black Panther” and “Doctor Strange,” told the committee that she was “horrified” by how much unauthorized use of her work has popped up on the internet through use of AI.

“I have never worried about my future as an artist. Until now,” Ortiz said. “Generative AI is unlike any other technology that has come before. It is a technology that uniquely consumes and exploits the hard work, creativity and innovation of others. No other tool is like this.”

Ortiz told the panel that she found that “almost the entirety of my work, and the work of almost every artist I know” has been lifted by AI companies and fed into software programs to train on coming up with new AI content.

“These works were stolen and used to train for-profit technologies with datasets that contain billions of image and text data pairshe. The work of hundreds of thousands of artists have been taken without our consent, credit or compensation,” she said.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, said Congress should hold companies accountable for stealing content and using AI to replicate artistic creations. She said this needs to be done soon, considering the dizzying speed of AI development and the theft that is increasingly occurring.

“We just don’t want it to become a fairly useful way to steal an artist’s work,” said Blackburn, a staunch supporter of the entertainment industry, both in Nashville and Hollywood.