Tennessee passes law to protect music artists from AI

Tennessee becomes the first state to pass legislation safeguarding musicians from AI voice replication.

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The Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, signed legislation intended to protect musicians and music professionals against the potential misuse of AI. The legal move makes Tennessee the first US state to implement such measures. The bill comes into force on Monday, 1 July 2024, and the primary purpose of it is to prevent AI from using the artists’ voice without their consent.

The governor emphasised that Tennessee is the state with the most people in the music industry and that everything created by artists is their intellectual property, not AI’s. According to the new law, the vocal likeness will be added to the ‘ELVIS Act’ (Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act), and the people in Tennessee can be held responsible if they use artists’ voices without permission or apply any of the artists’ work without authorisation.

Many musicians in Tennessee emphasise the urgency of addressing AI threats, which they say are already infiltrating their daily lives and creative spaces. Governor Lee, who signed the bill into law at Robert’s Western World in Nashville, emphasised the significance of protecting artists’ rights in the digital age. Despite unanimous approval in the Tennessee Statehouse and widespread support from within the music industry, the bill will face its first real-world test.