Visual artists need better protection from AI, group warns

An organisation supporting visual artists has called on the Government to bring in better safeguards and regulation around artificial intelligence (AI).

The Design And Artists Copyright Society (DACS), a non-profit visual artists’ rights management organisation, has made the recommendation after their recent survey found 89% of respondents wanted greater protection.

The organisation received 1,000 responses from visual artists, as well as people who represent artists, in their online poll which was shared to all of its artist members, totalling 180,000 people worldwide.

Around three quarters of respondents said they had concerns about their work being used to train AI models.

The survey found that 93% wanted to be credited when their work is used in this way while 94% thought they should be compensated financially.

More than four fifths said they would sign up for a licensing mechanism to ensure they received money when their work is used.

Following the report, the DACS called for the Government to establish safeguards and regulations that “address use of personal data, misinformation and deepfakes”.

It has also recommended blanket licensing and levy schemes to compensate creators for the use of their work, that pay must be improved for artists, and training in AI should be incentivised.

The organisation has also requested that AI models comply with copyright law and be open about what data or artworks have been used to train them as well as recommending that artists must sign off on their works to be used for AI training.

Chief executive at DACS Christian Zimmermann said: “The survey response clearly shows how important the topic of AI is to artists, from the opportunities AI offers to the threat it can pose to the earning potential of artists and the abuse of their works.

“UK artists are advocating for greater governmental action and DACS is proposing five policy recommendations to help protect the rights and livelihoods of UK artists amid the rapid evolution of AI technologies.

“These include enhancing transparency and adopting blanket licensing schemes administered by trusted brokers such as DACS.

“To maintain the UK’s status as a global leader in the cultural and creative industries, it’s imperative for the Government to act, offering stronger protection for artists and their creations.”

DACS posted to its website on September 8 2023 saying that it wanted visual artists to fill out its survey, which it said would close on October 2.