Tennessee’s Groundbreaking ELVIS Act Aims to Provide Unprecedented Legal Protection for Artists against AI Exploitation
In a pioneering move, the Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, has recently announced the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act. The bill is aimed at strengthening the existing Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights law adding unique protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals from the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI).
Known for its rich artistic heritage and extensive music industry, Tennessee supports over 61,617 jobs, contributes $5.8 billion to the national GDP, and boasts of more than 4,500 music venues. This enormous economic and cultural asset of the state faces a new challenge – AI-generated synthetic media, which threatens the unique voices and creative content of artists.
The proposed ELVIS Act is a response to the rising concern over AI’s ability to clone and impersonate artists and generate unauthorized fake works in the image and voice of others. By adding “voice” to the realm of protections offered, the bill aims to prevent AI from exploiting artists and musicians, posing a threat to their integrity, identity, and humanity.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, lauded the proposed legislation as a critical step in protecting the creative community against exploitative AI technologies. House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, mirrored this sentiment, emphasizing the need to shield the intellectual property of the talented artists and performers in the state.
This first-of-its-kind legal proposal has also received widespread support from industry groups including the Academy of Country Music, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), among others.
The CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr. called this an “important step towards groundbreaking state-level AI legislation”. The Nashville Songwriters Association International also applauded the initiative, stating that unauthorized AI-generated fake recordings would be subject to legal action in Tennessee, setting a precedent for other states to follow.
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