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Our Take on AI

| 1 minute read

Tennessee Moves To Protect Performing Artists from AI-Generated "Deepfakes"

In a significant move to safeguard the rights of artists in the era of artificial intelligence, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently signed the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act into law. This groundbreaking legislation provides explicit protection for artists' voices in addition to protections of their image and likeness under existing Tennessee law, and addresses the growing concerns surrounding AI-generated deep fakes. The new law takes effect July 1, 2024.

The ELVIS Act comes at a time when the rapid advancement of AI technology has raised questions about the unauthorized production of creative works intended to emulate the voice of a performing artist. With the ability to generate highly realistic imitations, AI poses a threat to artists' control over their own identities and the integrity of their art. The new law aims to combat these issues by expanding the scope of protection beyond just names, photographs, and likenesses, to include voices as well.

Under the ELVIS Act, any unauthorized use of an artist's name, image, photograph, or voice is prohibited, regardless of the context. This means that AI-generated performances, documentaries, songs, or books featuring an artist's likeness or voice without their consent could be in violation of the law. The rise of advanced generative AI created a loophole in the existing law by not restricting the use of an artist's “voice.” This act closes that loophole, and provides a more comprehensive framework for artists to assert their rights and maintain control over their creative identities.

The implications of the ELVIS Act for performing artists are significant. With the explicit protection of their voices, artists can now take legal action against those who attempt to exploit their unique vocal characteristics through AI-generated deep fakes. This empowers artists to safeguard their artistic integrity and prevents the dilution of their brand through unauthorized imitations. Moreover, the act serves as a deterrent to those who might seek to profit from an artist's likeness without their permission, ensuring that artists are fairly compensated for the use of their identities.

The law will replace the state's statutory right of publicity law with regulations against AI deep fakes and give local artists explicit protection over their voices for the first time.