Tennessee First in the Nation to Address AI Impact on Music Industry

Posted on: Wednesday - Jan 10, 2024

Tennessee First in the Nation to Address AI Impact on Music Industry

Gov. Lee joined by industry professionals to announce first-of-its-kind legislation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act, a bill updating Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights law to include protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals’ voice from the misuse of artificial intelligence (AI).

Tennessee’s music industry supports more than 61,617 jobs across the state, contributes $5.8 billion to our GDP, and fills over 4,500 music venues

“From Beale Street to Broadway, to Bristol and beyond, Tennessee is known for our rich artistic heritage that tells the story of our great state,” said Gov. Lee. “As the technology landscape evolves with artificial intelligence, we’re proud to lead the nation in proposing legal protection for our best-in-class artists and songwriters.”

While Tennessee’s existing law protects name, image and likeness, it doesn’t specifically address new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation and allow users to make unauthorized fake works in the image and voice of others. Artists and musicians at all levels are facing exploitation and the theft of their integrity, identity, and humanity. This threatens the future of Tennessee’s creators, the jobs that they support across the state and country, and the bonds between fans and their favorite bands.

The ELVIS Act would be the first legislation of its kind in the nation to build upon existing state rule protecting against the unauthorized use of someone’s likeness by adding “voice” to the realm it protects.

“While the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is exciting in many ways it also presents new challenges -- especially for singers, songwriters and other music professionals. Tennessee is well-known for being home to some of the most talented music artists in the world. It is crucial our laws protect these artists from AI-generated synthetic media which threatens their unique voices and creative content. I appreciate Governor Lee for proposing this first-of-its-kind legislation to protect the music industry in our state. I look forwarding to working with Leader Lamberth and my colleagues in the Senate on this important issue.” –Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin

“Tennessee is home to a remarkably diverse music community that is important not only to the culture of our state, but its economy as well. As technology advances, we must ensure the intellectual property of these incredibly talented artists, such as their voice, is fully protected. I am incredibly proud to carry this legislation that will benefit the performers who make our music industry so successful.” –House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland

“As AI technology continues to develop, today marks an important step towards groundbreaking state-level AI legislation. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will protect Tennessee’s creative community against AI deepfakes and voice cloning and will serve as the standard for other states to follow. The Academy appreciates Governor Lee and bipartisan members of the Tennessee legislature for leading the way – we’re eager to collaborate with lawmakers to move this bill forward.” –Harvey Mason, Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy

“The emergence of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) resulted in fake recordings that are not authorized by the artist and is wrong, period. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) applauds Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Senate Leader Jack Johnson and House Leader William Lamberth for introducing legislation that adds the word “voice” to the existing law – making it crystal clear that unauthorized AI-generated fake recordings are subject to legal action in the State of Tennessee. This is an important step in what will be an ongoing challenge to regulate generative AI music creations.” –Nashville Songwriters Association International

Additional industry groups supporting Gov. Lee’s artificial intelligence legislation include Academy of Country Music, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), The Americana Music Association, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA), Christian Music Trade Association, Folk Alliance International, Global Music Rights, Gospel Music Association, The Living Legends Foundation, Music Artists Coalition, Nashville Musicians Association, National Music Publishers’ Association, Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), Songwriters of North America (SONA), and Tennessee Entertainment Commission.