Tennessee’s law protects artists from Artificial Intelligence

Tennessee has recently made history as the first U.S. state to sign a legislation that protects the rights of musicians, songwriters and performers from unauthorized artificial intelligence impersonation. The Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act (ELVIS) is the newest version of the old right publicity law. The preexisting law protected artists’ name, photography and similarity, however, it did not address personalized AI cloning. The new law will prohibit services that permit human impersonation. Violations of this law will result as criminally enforced Class A misdemeanors. 

The new law will take effect on July 1, which forbids people from using AI to generate artists’ voices without permission. Tennessee is known for being a state of music, launching some of the biggest artists’ careers including Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. According to Tennessee’s governor’s office, the music field supports over 61,617 careers all over the state and fills more than 4,500 music venues. The industry also contributes 5.8 million dollars to the gross domestic product. Artists in all various stages of their careers are vulnerable to their identity and creativity being stolen and deceived. This creates a complication in the future of artists careers supported by the state and threatens the relationships between artists and their fans. 

Images and replications created by AI have caused a drive for media literacy education. Recently, lawmakers have faced difficulty in keeping up with the advancement of generative AI as it affects multiple industries. 

The advancement of AI has caused many problems and diverse opinions in the music industry. AI was first made popular by the well-known ChatGPT system and due to generative AI growth many ethical concerns have been raised. In the past, AI was used to magnify an artist’s original music while generative AI is now being used to replicate content and can now create full songs and lyrics. However, copyright exceptions including fair use and how they fit into this new law are yet to be determined. 

The ELVIS Act is the first legislation to protect artists’ content from being replicated and stolen due to AI.