Tennessee Governor Signs Off on Legislation To Protect Against AI

Tennessee Governor Signs Off on Legislation To Protect Against AI

(USNewsBreak.com) – Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a major source of controversy since its use skyrocketed in 2022. It has impacted several sectors already. One governor is taking action to ensure it doesn’t affect one industry in particular.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) signed legislation on Thursday, March 21, aimed at protecting musicians from unauthorized AI impersonations. Lee announced the bill, the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act, dubbed the ELVIS Act, in a post on Facebook alongside popular country singers Chris Janson and Luke Bryan in Nashville.

According to a separate news release from the governor’s office, Tennessee is home to more than 4,500 music venues. The state’s “music industry supports more than 61,617 jobs,” contributing as much as $5.8 billion to Tennessee’s annual gross domestic product. This legislation takes the next step to protect the hard work musicians put into their creations, expanding on pre-existing laws that secure “name, image, and likeness.” The legislation, originally crafted in 1984 to protect Elvis’ estate, has also expanded to apply to all public figures in Tennessee.

The new legislation aims to ensure that people can’t use AI tools to copy an artist’s voice without prior consent. The state can hold violators liable for using AI to replicate the voice and publishing the musician’s voice without authorization. According to The Associated Press, speaking with reporters, Lee said the bill was critical because “[Artists] have gifts. They have a uniqueness that is theirs and theirs alone.”

Country singer Luke Bryan, who has 30 hits that have climbed to Number One and an expanded discography, was very vocal in his approval of the legislation, calling it “an amazing precedent to set,” according to a statement. He extended his thanks to all the legislators who worked hard to bring it to fruition. He expressed his hope that it would curb AI duplication of his voice and likeness.

The law will take effect on July 1.

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