Independent music publishers propose ethical guidelines to AI developers

200 of the world’s leading publishers aim to foster a transparent, collaborative relationship with AI tech companies.

Brussels, 9th October 2023

IMPF (Independent Music Publishers International Forum), which represents 200 of the world’s leading independent music publishing companies, have today proposed a set of ethical guidelines for the development and use of generative AI as it pertains to the music industry.

The aim of the principles is to foster a more transparent and collaborative relationship between creatives (in IMPF’s case, songwriters, and music publishers) and tech companies developing AI applications.

The proposal comes on day one of the second IMPF Global Music Entrepreneurial and Creative Industry Summit, which begins today in Palma and will see more than 340 top music industry professionals attend.

IMPF has proposed the following four principles for the ethical use of music in the training of AI applications (the full guidelines can be found in detail here).

  1. All interested parties in the field of AI application should comply with the basic tenets of intellectual property and copyright law.
  2. Records should be kept of musical and/or literaryworks used in the machine learning process.
  3. There should be clear differentiation and demarcation between human created and AI generated musical works.
  4. Furthermore, there should be delineation between assistive AI and fully generative AI applications.

IMPF President Annette Barrett said: “There has been much debate – and indeed often panic – about the rapid development of artificial intelligence and the implications it has for the creative industries. But the technology is here to stay, and it will only get more sophisticated. In many cases it will actually enhance our work and lives. We should not fight these advancements, but it would be negligent to give tech developers free reign when it comes to the use of artistic human work – which carries its own irrefutable, intrinsic value – to enable machine learning. We have established these four key ethical principles to strike a careful balance between progress and protection, to assert creative rights and, ultimately, to forge a healthier relationship between the creative and technology industries.”


IMPF is a network and meeting place for independent music publishers globally. We want to take advantage of the incredible opportunities to have our music on every service, licensed easily and without borders. And most importantly, we want our writers and our companies rewarded fairly for their work.