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Tennessee Makes History: First State to Protect Musicians Against AI Copycats

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Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee has signed legislation aimed at safeguarding songwriters, performers, and other music industry professionals from the potential threats posed by AI.

The move establishes Tennessee as the first state in the U.S. to implement such measures, reflecting its historic role as the birthplace of country music and a hub for musical talent.

The legislation, known as the Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act or “ELVIS Act,” seeks to protect artists’ intellectual property and uniqueness.

It prohibits AI tools from replicating an artist’s voice without their explicit consent, addressing concerns about the unauthorized use of vocal likeness in AI-generated content. The bill is set to take effect on July 1, marking a significant milestone in the protection of artistic integrity.

Bipartisan Support and Unanimous Approval

Governor Lee emphasized the importance of protecting artists’ intellectual property, highlighting the significant role of the music industry in Tennessee’s economy.

The bipartisan support for the bill, with unanimous approval from the Tennessee Statehouse, underscores the widespread recognition of the need to address the challenges posed by AI replication in the music industry.

Many Tennessee musicians have expressed concerns about the growing threat of AI replication, which can lead to unauthorized use of their voices and creative works. The legislation creates a new civil action for individuals whose voices are used without permission, providing legal recourse against unauthorized AI-generated content.

Legacy of Elvis Presley and Personal Rights Protection

The decision to name the statute after Elvis Presley, a music icon closely associated with Tennessee, pays homage to the state’s rich musical heritage. It also reflects the state’s commitment to protecting the rights of public figures, building upon the legacy of the Personal Rights Protection Act enacted in 1984.

This legislation ensures that personality rights, including vocal likeness, are considered property rights and can be passed down to heirs. While the effectiveness of the legislation remains to be seen, Governor Lee and supporters acknowledge the need for proactive measures to address AI replication in the music industry.

The signing event, held at the iconic Robert’s Western World in Nashville, symbolizes the state’s dedication to preserving its musical legacy and supporting its artists in the face of emerging technological challenges.

Image by Brent Moore on Flickr

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Karishhma Mago is an entrepreneur, cryptocurrency expert, and personal branding consultant. She’s the founder & CEO of Facilius Inc. and Digital Nod, the premier digital PR agencies servicing global brands and influential public figures. With a penchant for entrepreneurship, brand building, social media, and cryptocurrency, she brings a wealth of expertise to her contributions to several esteemed publications. If not behind her laptop screen, you will find her reading her favorite books, traveling, or playing with her daughter.
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