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General Assembly passes  ELVIS Act

The General Assembly this week unanimously passed first-of-its-kind legislation protecting artists’ identity and work from misuse of artificial  intelligence (AI). 

The Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act, sponsored by House  Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, now heads to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for his signature. 

“As technology advances, we must ensure intellectual property and humanity is  protected. Consumers should be fully informed when they encounter artificial  content,” Lamberth said. “The ability of artificial intelligence to replicate someone  else’s legitimate voice and likeness should deeply concern us all. The ELVIS Act sets critical safeguards that protect creators against harm, exploitation and theft.” 

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While Tennessee’s existing law protects name, image and likeness, it does not  address new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable  human impersonation and allow users to make unauthorized fake reproductions in  the image and voice of others. 

The emergence of artificial intelligence threatens the careers of artists whose image, likeness, and voice are replicated, as well as the future of the music industry and the jobs it supports. 

Tennessee is home to more than 68,000 songwriters. The state ranks No. 1 in the  nation for music industry employment, with jobs growing by 21 percent over the last five years. Overall, Tennessee’s music industry supports nearly 62,000 jobs across  the state, contributes $5.8 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) and fills more  than 4,500 music establishments. 

The ELVIS Act is 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. Once signed by the governor, the legislation takes  effect July 1.

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