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New Working Paper: ‘Evidencing the Value of Human Performance: Towards Re-Thinking Performers’ Rights for an AI World’

Posted on    by Elena Cooper
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New Working Paper: ‘Evidencing the Value of Human Performance: Towards Re-Thinking Performers’ Rights for an AI World’

By 28 June 2024July 18th, 2024No Comments

CREATe is happy to present the sixth entry in our series of working papers released in 2024: ‘Evidencing the Value of Human Performance: Towards Re-thinking Performers’ Rights for an AI World’, by Laurence Bouvard, Elena Cooper and Amy Thomas.

In two previous blogs, CREATe researchers Dr Elena Cooper and Dr Amy Thomas have each reflected on the role of their independent academic research in enabling objective critical reflection on legal questions debated in a highly contested policy-making setting. Amy Thomas has pointed to the importance of empirical research – the use of social science methods to uncover the ‘real life’ of how copyright works in practice – to debunking pervasive myths about creative labour (e.g. the myth ‘that creative labour is an inexhaustible resource that is constantly replenishing itself through the altruism of our creators’), and this ethos for empirical research underpins CREATe’s ESRC-funded Creators’ Earnings and Contracts hub (which sets the ‘gold standard’ in empirical research into creators’ earnings across the creative industries). Elena Cooper’s research, by contrast, looks backwards – to legal history – and in a previous CREATe Working Paper (2023/9), first published as a lead article in the European Intellectual Property Review (2023, Vol. 45(8), p.p. 444-453), she argued that an understanding of the legal past can sharpen the critical lens on an aspect of the debate of AI at the present moment: the reform of performers’ rights.

The latest addition to the CREATe Working Paper Series – Evidencing the Value of Human Performance: Towards Re-Thinking Performers’ Rights for an AI World –  is a collaborative paper, drawing together the combined insights of Elena Cooper and Amy Thomas – in the value of empirical and legal historical perspectives to understanding current legal questions – as well as the real-world testimony of Laurence Bouvard (a prominent voice-over artist and actress, and current chair of Equity’s Screen and new Media Committee). Stepping back from the heated contests of current policy-debates, the Working Paper outlines the next steps for a future programme of independent academic research with a view to evidencing and re-thinking performers’ rights for an AI-world. The article was first published in the first volume of the recent AI Special Issue of the European Intellectual Property Review: E.I.P.R., 2024, 46(6), 335-345.

The article by Bouvard, Cooper and Thomas only addresses performers’ rights side to current debates, but CREATe is pleased to see that a response to Equity’s proposals for new statutory image rights in the UK (see Stop AI Stealing the Show) has just been published, in the second volume of the E.I.P.R.’s AI Special Issue, by Dr Emma Perot (Lecturer in IP Law, University of West Indies, and the author of Commercialising Celebrity, Bloomsbury, 2023): Perot, ‘Anticipating AI: A Partial Solution to Image Rights Protection for Performers’ (E.I.P.R. 2024, 46(7), 405-418).

Full paper can be downloaded here.

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