Tennessee enacts landmark law to shield musicians from AI exploitation

Report says it is the first US state to protect musicians from AI

Tennessee enacts landmark law to shield musicians from AI exploitation

Tennessee is the first state in the United States to enact legislation aimed at safeguarding musicians and artists from the unauthorized use of their works by artificial intelligence technologies, Thomson Reuters has reported.

Governor Bill Lee signed the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act into law, setting a precedent in the ongoing dialogue about AI's ethical and legal implications in the creative industries.

The ELVIS Act updates Tennessee's personal rights protection laws, extending safeguards to encompass the voices of songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals against the misuse of artificial intelligence. This legislation addresses a growing concern in the music industry and beyond regarding the capabilities of generative AI technologies to create content that includes original sounds, lyrics, or entire compositions without explicit authorization.

Reuters reported that the advent of AI in music creation, while not a novel phenomenon, has recently seen exponential growth, especially with the introduction of advanced generative AI models capable of producing complete musical pieces independently. These advancements have sparked a debate within the music industry about the potential for AI to infringe on the rights of human creators and the ethical considerations of such technology.

Tennessee's music industry is a substantial economic force, supporting over 61,617 jobs, contributing $5.8 billion to the gross domestic product, and boasting over 4,500 music venues. The ELVIS Act is seen by many as a protective measure for an industry that forms a vital part of Tennessee's cultural and economic identity.

Before the ELVIS Act, Tennessee's laws safeguarded personal rights concerning name, image, and likeness. However, the rapid advancement and adoption of AI technologies necessitated an update to these protections. Modern generative AI technologies, particularly those that replicate human likeness and voice, have introduced new challenges, including the potential for creating unauthorized and misleading representations of individuals.

The discussion around the regulation of artificial intelligence extends beyond the music industry. According to a report by Thomson Reuters, there is a growing awareness of the broader implications of AI, including its potential to disrupt democratic processes, enhance fraudulent activities, and contribute to job displacement.

While European nations have taken proactive steps toward regulating AI, the United States faces challenges in establishing a unified approach due to political divisions. The enactment of the ELVIS Act by Tennessee is seen by many as a step towards recognizing and addressing the complex issues presented by artificial intelligence in creative industries.

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