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Copyright, AI and the music industry

This project looks at the future of the music industry in view of technological developments in artificial intelligence (AI), in particular the implications for copyright law. It looks at creativity in light of AI and considers how copyright should respond.

For example, will smart contracts replace licensing schemes? Will AI be writing songs? How does this effect the copyright ownership and enforcement in the music industry? Are musical works created by AI original, do they qualify for copyright protection and do they infringe existing work? This is an exciting topic at the forefront of copyright policy and technological development.

The results of the research will be published in a book on Copyright and the Music Industry which includes looking at the impact of AI technologies on the future of the music industry. The book is commissioned by Edward Elgar as part of their practical law series.

Our evidence given to the UK Intellectual Property Office who sought views on the implications artificial intelligence might have for IP policy argues that:

  1. The analogy of copying someone’s work inside a human brain, is not an appropriate way of considering whether copyright protected works are infringed by AI.
  2. The test for copyright infringement in these circumstances needs to be adapted, in that it focuses on the AI ‘Producers’ (meaning the person responsible) activities (such as data input) rather than the output.
  3. It should be clarified in what circumstances the current copyright exceptions apply to AI processes.
  4. It needs to be considered whether or not private agreements could or should be made above or below any policy decision as to the ownership of copyright in AI-generated works.
  5. There should be a distinction between AI-assisted works and AI-generated works.
  6. Additional rights should be considered such as performance and moral rights.

Read the full paper here.


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Hayleigh Bosher - Hayleigh is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law and Associate Dean (Professional Development and Graduate Outcomes) at Brunel University London, as well as, Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Intellectual Property, Policy and Management, writer and Book Review Editor for the specialist IP blog IPKat, founder of the World IP Women (WIPW) network, and a legal consultant in the creative industries.  Hayleigh is well-recognised in the field of intellectual property law, in particular copyright law and the creative industries, and has attained an international reputation in the field of Music Copyright, in particular and her work has been cited extensively in academic, practitioner and policy outputs. She has contributed to policy work in this area, is cited in various Government documents and has been interviewed by numerous national and international media outlets, including BB, ITV, Sky News and The Guardian, The Times and The Wall Street Journal. Hayleigh researches in the area of copyright and related laws in the creative industries, particularly in music, social media, and more recently artificial intelligence and related technologies e.g. NFTs. Her research always involves public and policy engagement, as such she is widely published in academic peer-reviewed journals, in the press, and has responded to a number of policy inquiries at international and national level. Her most recent book; Copyright in the Music Industry, is accompanied with a playlist and podcast.  Hayleigh is a core member of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and a member of the Research Centre for Law, Economics and Finance at Brunel. Hayleigh joined Brunel in 2018, having previously held positions at Coventry University, The University of the Arts London and the Academy of Digital Entertainment, Breda University (Netherlands). 

Related Research Group(s)

Law, Economics and Finance

Law, Economics and Finance - The Centre for Law, Economics and Finance aims to advance the wider societal impact of our research by engaging with policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholder.

AI: Social and Digital Innovation

AI: Social and Digital Innovation - Social, economic and strategic effects of AI and associated technologies. Impact of AI and related technologies on societies, organisations and individuals.


Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.


Project last modified 29/06/2021