Are Tech Giants Dictating the Terms on AI? ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus Says Creators ‘Must Act Now’

AI creators Bjorn Ulvaeus comments CISAC
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AI creators Bjorn Ulvaeus comments CISAC
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Photo Credit: Björn Ulvaeus, President of CISAC

CISAC publishes its annual report, with a notable focus on AI tech; Björn Ulvaeus says creatives ‘must act now’ for a place at the decision-making table.

The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), the not-for-profit organization aiming to protect the rights and promote the interests of creators worldwide, has published its annual report. It should surprise no one with their finger on the pulse in the creative sector that AI technologies are at the forefront of the conversation when it comes to current trends.

CISAC president and ABBA co-founder Björn Ulvaeus writes in his foreword to the report that AI is poised to bring “the biggest revolution the creative sector has seen.”

“To prepare, we must act now. We should not sit on our hands waiting to see how things evolve,” writes Ulvaeus. “We cannot let tech companies and policy makers sit at the decision-making tables while the creators are left outside the room. On the contrary, we must raise our voices so they are heard by governments at the highest level. We must be coordinated and united, looking for global solutions. And we must work within the CISAC community to protect the rights and livelihoods of the millions of creators our societies represent.”

“In a speech at last year’s CISAC General Assembly in Mexico, I was asked to give insights on my experience of AI, its impact on creators, and how the creative sector should respond. I was speaking not only as President of CISAC but also as a songwriter and artist who is intrigued and excited by the possibilities of AI to enhance our culture.”

“There is so much we do not know about AI and what it means for our future,” explains Ulvaeus. “But in the panels and discussions that followed, the Assembly was united on a common message, and it was one of great urgency.”

“That was one year ago. Since then, I’m pleased to say a lot has happened. We have sat with world leaders. We have issued many submissions in national legislatures. Despite the complexity of the issue, we have built our arguments around three core principles: the right of creators to authorize the use of their works; their right to be fairly remunerated; and transparency obligations supported by law, which AI operators must comply with when mining creators’ works.”

“There is a long way to go, but the good news is that these efforts have shown positive results,” Ulvaeus continues, specifically naming the EU AI Act, in which he and CISAC’s vice presidents actively engaged to adopt. “There will be a lot more legislative activity in the coming months, with CISAC and its global network uniquely placed to lead the campaign.”

“Twelve months on from the Mexico GA, our challenge is still to give creators their seat at the table, as well as to shape legislation as it emerges,” he concludes. “AI can be a wonderful tool, but this must never be at the expense of creators’ rights. The concept of copyright has had and has immense impact on culture and economy and must not be watered down by AI. We can only redouble our efforts to educate policymakers on this crucial message in the year ahead. We must stay united, coordinated, and always with the true interest of the creator at the center of our campaign.”

This year’s annual CISAC report can be read in its entirety here.