Tennessee first in the nation to address AI impact on music industry

Published 9:43 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act, a bill updating Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights law to include protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals’ voice from the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI).
Tennessee’s music industry supports more than 61,617 jobs across the state, contributes $5.8 billion to our GDP, and fills over 4,500 music venues.
“From Beale Street to Broadway, to Bristol and beyond, Tennessee is known for our rich artistic heritage that tells the story of our great state,” said Gov. Lee. “As the technology landscape evolves with artificial intelligence, we’re proud to lead the nation in proposing legal protection for our best-in-class artists and songwriters.”
While Tennessee’s existing law protects name, image and likeness, it doesn’t specifically address new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation and allow users to make unauthorized fake works in the image and voice of others. Artists and musicians at all levels are facing exploitation and the theft of their integrity, identity, and humanity. This threatens the future of Tennessee’s creators, the jobs that they support across the state and country, and the bonds between fans and their favorite bands.
The ELVIS Act would be the first legislation of its kind in the nation to build upon existing state rule protecting against the unauthorized use of someone’s likeness by adding “voice” to the realm it protects.
“While the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is exciting in many ways it also presents new challenges – especially for singers, songwriters and other music professionals. Tennessee is well-known for being home to some of the most talented music artists in the world. It is crucial our laws protect these artists from AI-generated synthetic media which threatens their unique voices and creative content. I appreciate Governor Lee for proposing this first-of-its-kind legislation to protect the music industry in our state. I look forward to working with Leader Lamberth and my colleagues in the Senate on this important issue,” remarked Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin.

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