Tennessee Passes ELVIS Act to Protect Musicians from AI Deepfakes

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law the ELVIS Act (Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act), Protecting artists’ rights in the era of artificial intelligence (AI) deepfakes.

Tennessee Passes ELVIS Act to Protect Musicians from AI Deepfakes

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The ELVIS Act introduced by Governor Lee alongside State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lambert, represents a concerted effort to address the complexities of AI-related infringements.

Previously, protections were limited to an individual’s name, photograph, or likeness. The ELVIS Act expands on Tennessee’s existing right of publicity law to include protections for a person’s voice, image, and likeness.

It prohibits the unauthorized use of an individual’s voice, likeness, or image in AI-generated content without their consent.

The law imposes civil liability on individuals or entities distributing or making available AI technology for unauthorized use.

Exceptions are made for news, public affairs, sports broadcasts, and fair use for comment, criticism, scholarship, satire, or parody, as protected by the First Amendment.

The ELVIS Act garnered support from a coalition, including musicians, recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers, and industry organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Luke Bryan, Chris Janson, and other artists voiced their support for the bill, addressing the importance of protecting artists’ voices and livelihoods.

The Human Artistry Campaign, a coalition advocating for responsible AI use, supported the ELVIS Act and called for federal legislation to address AI-generated replicas without consent.

Tennessee’s leadership in passing the ELVIS Act sets a precedent for other states to follow in protecting artists from AI misuse.

The law addresses concerns over AI deepfakes, which can undermine artists’ intellectual property rights and reputations.

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By including voice protections, the ELVIS Act modernizes existing privacy laws to keep pace with technological advancements.

Advocates are pushing for federal legislation, such as the No AI Fraud Act, to establish uniform protections against AI-generated replicas nationwide.

Concerns over First Amendment rights and the need to balance free speech with artists’ rights remain central to the debate.

The ELVIS Act, introduced by Governor Lee alongside State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lambert, expands upon existing right of publicity laws in Tennessee.

Protections were limited to a person’s “name, photograph, or likeness,” but with the enactment of the ELVIS Act, individuals now enjoy explicit safeguards for their voices as well. This move is particularly given the rise of AI-generated deepfakes.

The ELVIS Act has garnered support from Tennessee’s artistic community, with figures such as Luke Bryan, Chris Janson, Lindsay Ell, and Evanescence’s David Hodges lending their voices to the cause.

Industry organizations including the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Human Artistry Campaign have also thrown their weight behind the bill.

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The patchwork nature of right of publicity laws across states in the United States has long been a challenge for artists seeking to control over their identities.

With the ELVIS Act, Tennessee plans to streamline these protections and set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

By including a person’s voice as a protected right and the scope of prohibited uses, the state is taking an approach to address the complexities of AI-related infringements.

The enactment of the ELVIS Act comes at a time when federal lawmakers are also exploring solutions to address AI-related concerns.

Initiatives such as the No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas And Unauthorized Duplications Act (No AI FRAUD Act) and the Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe Act (NO FAKES Act) seek to establish a framework for protecting individuals’ voices and likenesses on a national level.

Critics of the ELVIS Act have concerns about its infringement on First Amendment rights. Proponents argue that the legislation strikes a balance between protecting artists’ intellectual property and preserving freedom of expression.

By delineating clear guidelines and exemptions, the ELVIS Act plans to provide protections while upholding fundamental constitutional principles.

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