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Open Letter: Artists Using Generative AI Demand Seat at Table from US Congress

As part of Creative Commons’ ongoing community consultation on generative AI, we have engaged with a wide variety of stakeholders, including artists and content creators, about how to help make generative AI work better for everyone.

Certainly, many artists have significant concerns about AI. At the same time, artists are not homogenous, and many others are benefiting from this new technology. The debate about generative AI doesn’t always include these voices; in fact, the debate has too often become polarized and destructive, with artists who use AI facing harassment and even death threats.

The following open letter grew out of our ongoing consultation. It was written by a cohort of artists, with our support, and we hope it can help foster inclusive, informed discussions.

If you would like to have your name added to this list and are interested in follow-up actions with this group, please sign our form.

Updated: 29 September 2023

To Sen. Schumer and Members of the US Congress:

26 years ago this month, celebrated electronic musician Björk released her third album, saying: “I find it so amazing when people tell me that electronic music has no soul. You can’t blame the computer. If there’s no soul in the music, it’s because nobody put it there.”

We write this letter today as professional artists using generative AI tools to help us put soul in our work. Our creative processes with AI tools stretch back for years, or in the case of simpler AI tools such as in music production software, for decades. Many of us are artists who have dedicated our lives to studying in traditional mediums while dreaming of generative AI’s capabilities.

For others, generative AI is making art more accessible or allowing them to pioneer entirely new artistic mediums. Just like previous innovations, these tools lower barriers in creating art — a career that has been traditionally limited to those with considerable financial means, abled bodies, and the right social connections.

Unfortunately, this diverse, pioneering work of individual human artists is being misrepresented. Some say it is about merely typing in prompts or regurgitating existing works. Others deride our methods and our art as based on ‘stealing’ and ‘data theft.’ While generative AI can be used to exploitatively replicate existing works, such uses do not interest us. Our art is grounded in ingenuity and creating new art. It is well known that all artists build not only on the previous ideas, genres, and concepts that came before, but also on the culture in which they create. Unfortunately, many individual artists are afraid of backlash if they so much as touch these important new tools.

We are speaking out today to advocate for a future of richer and more accessible creative innovation for generations of artists to come. Artists breathe life into AI, directing its innovation towards positive cultural evolution while expanding the essential human dimensions it inherently lacks.

Sen. Schumer and Members of Congress, we appreciate the ongoing hearings, ‘Insight Forums,’ and other initiatives focused on regulating generative AI systems and that your goal is to be inclusive, pulling from a range of ‘scientists, advocates, and community leaders’ who are actively engaged with the field. Ultimately, that must mean including artists like us. We use AI tools daily and will provide an important perspective to this increasingly pressing discussion.

We see a unique opportunity in this moment to shape generative AI’s development responsibly. The broad concerns around human artistic labor being voiced today cannot be ignored. All too often, major corporations and other powerful entities use technology in ways that exploit artists’ labor and undermine our ability to make a living. If you seek to ensure generative AI’s revolutionary trajectory benefits humanity as a whole, it would be a gross oversight to exclude those in our society who are working within its potential and its limitations.

For us, generative AI tools are empowering and expressive. We use them not to duplicate others, but rather to make transformative new works and experiences. We are keenly aware of many real issues and impacts with these technologies, as well as with efforts to regulate them. And it is precisely because we use these technologies that our viewpoint is so urgent at this time.

The Undersigned

  1. Nettrice Gaskins
  2. Dadabots
  3. illustrata
  4. Makeitrad
  5. Tim Boucher
  7. Thomas K. Yonge
  8. DeltaSauce
  9. Charlie Engman
  10. Rob Sheridan
  11. Tim Molloy
  12. Jrdsctt
  13. Cristóbal Valenzuela
  14. Weird Science
  15. otherfaces
  16. BB
  17. aiporium
  18. Manu Williams
  19. mezdez
  20. 0xCrumpet
  21. Charlesai
  22. amorvobiscum
  23. MidjourneyChris
  24. Iofeye
  25. Weelo
  26. k n y l x
  27. Carlos28355
  28. Heather Timm
  29. Eli leno
  30. ArmandaBlum
  31. Hj
  32. Dreaming Tulpa
  33. JeffJag
  34. ClownVamp
  35. Stephan Vasement
  36. Rikkar
  37. crownandpalette
  38. junk.culture
  39. Henry Daubrez
  40. crazer
  41. TheDigitalCoy
  42. Moe P. Wellington
  43. Historic_Crypto
  44. Samson Harper
  45. KarinaTheo
  46. AIbert GAN Vogh
  47. Marco van Hylckama Vlieg
  48. Elizabeth Ann West
  49. Karen Brown
  50. Gavin Shapiro
  51. Jeff Sontag
  52. JosephC
  53. Artist’s Journey
  54. The Unclean
  55. Tim Simpson
  56. SJ Klein
  57. Laurence Fuller
  58. bralynn bell
  59. Ai Machina
  60. Nuclear Samurai
  61. KEZIAI
  62. lilyillo
  63. Duael
  64. Birddog
  65. Altarbeast
  66. DocT
  67. Pixlosopher
  68. Morph_VGArt
  69. brightlightart
  70. Nathan Lands
  71. Farrah Carbonell
  72. dancevatar
  73. Anastasis Germanidis
  74. MsJoKnows.eth
  75. Dale Williams
  76. Souki Mansoor
  77. Ale
  78. Dave Villalva
  79. Mikki Sharp
  80. Carl Franzen
  81. Dehiscence 
  82. vlaneART
  83. SRodan
  84. Daniel Lefcourt
  85. Toco Deco
  86. Cristina Samsa
  87. Johanna Wilder
  88. Niki Selken
  89. Espen Tversland
  90. icanseesounds 
  91. Leo Rodman, M.Sc.
  92. Roberta (Robin) Sullivan 
  93. Vasiawow
  94. Tonio Inverness
  95. Isabel Gomez
  96. Merzmensch
  97. Philipp Lenssen
  98. Lem Xelaza
  99. Chris Hackett
  100. lunatom
  101. Jeremy
  102. Nucksen
  103. A-Merk
  104. Kyle Shannon
  105. Mario Klingemann
  106. m2mcguire
  107. Zach Shukan
  108. Francesco D’Isa
  109. Anna Foley Simmons
  110. Feri
  111. Fr
  112. Farzin
  113. Cristiano Siqueira
  114. Lynn Cole
  115. WEBmadman
  116. Annias
  117. Pat Tremblay
  118. Mark Redito
  119. KAT JAK
  120. Bill Meeks
  121. Nell Fallcard 
  123. Hidéo SNES
  124. Erik Sanner
  125. @smoozus
  126. Pardesco
  127. Patrick Amadon
  128. Tim Newman 
  129. AIristowave
  130. Weldon West
  131. Matthew Ford
  132. Elisa Rae Shupe
  133. Aitrinsic
  134. Rene Walter
  135. RandomLikeU
  136. N1FTey
  137. Jason Levine
  138. Frenzy657
  139. Stephen E. Dinehart IV
  140. Ryan Kelln
  141. Gushousekai195
  142. Canek Zapata
  143. Helena
  144. Corey Ryan Hanson
  145. Amli
  146. AiTouin
  147. Teleporter Dude
  148. Maksym Hladenko
  149. Malainine
  150. Chase The Realm
  151. Haillisim
  152. Pete Nixon
  153. John Stark
  154. Daniel O’Donnell
  155. Carl.B.Bethea
  156. Abram
  157. Echopoetica
  158. Amos I.
  159. iapetus.latent
  160. akp 
  161. Kevin Hower
  162. Mozart Bardot
  163. John Harvey
  164. Unitysh
  165. Dude Visuals
  166. César Romero Pose
  167. Katina McClain “Ms. Kitty” 
  168. Kevin McLaughlin
  169. Eden Hopewell
  170. Marsha Jones
  171. Carrie Joy
  172. AD Campbell 
  173. Kev Partner
  174. Kainewynd2
  175. Tom Fowler
  176. Jessica Cline
  177. Joelle
  178. Maria Warren
  179. Jordan Li
  180. Javadbmh
  181. Rodger Werkhoven
  182. Rodolfo J. Paiz
  183. Antoni Dol
  184. Annie Appleton
  185. Giana Vogt
  186. Robert Paul AKA MxVoid
  187. Wondermundo
  188. Hannah Silva
  189. Diego Dolph Johnson
  190. espinosa
  191. Future Primitive