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Home » Officer Columns » AFM Participates in FIM Executive Committee Meeting

AFM Participates in FIM Executive Committee Meeting

  -  AFM International President

I was honored to represent the AFM at the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) 114th Executive Committee Meeting in Bucharest, Romania, May 23-24. FIM brings together musician unions from all corners of the globe. Members of the executive committee discussed issues that affect musicians worldwide, including the environment, equality, exploitation of recorded music, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues—FIM and its member unions must be aware of these challenges and participate in collective efforts to protect our environment, address the climate crisis, and secure conditions for sustainable development. Our work, and the conditions under which it is delivered, may contribute to solving or aggravating these issues. We should look at the profession of musician and the possibility to make it evolve toward a more environmentally friendly practice that positively impacts climate change. Initiatives taken in this regard must consider and respect the interests of the musicians we represent as workers, especially regarding the benefits they have acquired through collective bargaining or other means.

Implementing Collective Bargaining Rights in Arts and Entertainment—The International Labour Organization (ILO) technical meeting on the future of work in the arts and entertainment sector highlighted the importance of social dialogue and collective bargaining to ensure a decent future of work in the arts and entertainment sector. The meeting specifically requested the office to “provide policy guidance on the implementation of the right of collective bargaining in the sector.” Social dialogue, including collective bargaining, is a fundamental tool for building a sustainable industry that facilitates equal access to technologies, fosters entrepreneurship, and promotes effective and inclusive labor market institutions and a safe and healthy work environment.

The full realization of the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining still meets some obstacles. These include fragmentation in representation and coverage of trade unions and employers’ organizations and the ability of workers in the sector to engage in collective bargaining and representation.

Work Plan on Copyright in the Digital Environment—The AFM is committed to continuing its participation as a nongovernmental organization in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) activities. WIPO “umbrella” internet treaties of the 1990s are insufficient to address challenges from global service providers and on-demand services, and AI. The laws and institutions of member states do not provide the necessary balance and protection for copyright and related rights.

The executive committee proposed future studies and debate topics ranging from market practices adopted by global service providers, including the rules for transfers and assignments of rights, and analysis of the level of transparency both in the availability and recommendation of content for ordinary citizens who use the Internet, and in the remuneration criteria for works, performances, and creations.

Adoption of a FIM Statement on AI—We will soon welcome the EU AI Act. It is the first attempt by a major regulator to harness the unfettered use of AI and AI models. Despite the tech industry’s resistance to regulation, this technology and its use have long-ranging implications for individuals, society, creators, and cultural diversity. It is important to ensure AI develops in a way that respects fundamental principles and is a tool to enhance, not replace, human creativity. Implementation of the AI Act will only serve as a temporary fix for a much larger problem, unless legal ambiguities are addressed.

The music sector is regularly confronted with disruptive technological innovations that impact the industry, the public, and artists. Certain historical changes, perceived today as progress, could destabilize performers’ jobs, weaken their income, and profoundly modify their work. This was the case with radio, LPs, cassettes, CDs, computer music, downloading and streaming, and now, artificial intelligence.

AI ingests and analyzes performers’ works, voices, images, likenesses, and styles. It can use this data to put out new content at a scale that is an objective threat to the careers and livelihoods of all present and future artists. Innovative remuneration mechanisms should be considered. Any AI-assisted generation of content should be subject to fair payments to the performers whose work and talents constitute the knowledge base.

Recent AI services available to the public translate into a competitive and fast-growing market with strategic implications and considerable profit prospects. However, this new ecosystem is not regulated by any adequate framework protecting the community of creators whose work and talents are exploited in proportions beyond comprehension. The existing copyright and neighboring rights normative frameworks were not designed to address the particular problems posed today by generative AI.

To the extent that AI-generated content draws its value from human creations exploited on a large scale, it is entirely relevant to consider mandatory compensation mechanisms benefiting the creative community, to be applied to all generative AI tools.

After attending the FIM meeting, I realized how interconnected the values and aspirations of musicians in the global music industry are. We can benefit from sharing our stories and working together to address our everyday concerns.

A group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generatedAFM International President Tino Gagliardi, far left, at the FIM Executive Committee Meeting in Bucharest, Romania.

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