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Tennessee becomes first US state with legislation protecting musicians from AI

Musical notes are visible on the sheet music in this illustration shot April 4, 2018

March 21 (mod1s) - Tennessee Governor measure Lee signed a measure into law on Thursday that intended to safeguard artists like musicians from illegal exploitation by artificial intelligence.
The law is named the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act. 


While the existence of AI, opens new tab in music-making can be dated back to the 1950s, recent breakthrough, opens new tab advancements in generative AI, with robots now composing songs like digital pop stars, have split attitudes in the industry. Many academics argue AI creates legal and ethical problems.

Made famous last year by the ChatGPT language system, generative AI is capable of producing material like fresh sounds, lyrics or whole songs on its own, although musicians frequently utilize simpler AI to improve their sound. 


The Tennessee Act amends Tennessee's personal rights protection statute to include "protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals' voice from the misuse of artificial intelligence," the governor's office stated in a statement, opens new tab.

Tennessee's music sector sustains more than 61,617 jobs throughout the state, provides $5.8 billion to gross domestic product, and fills over 4,500 music venues, according to the governor's office. 

Tennessee's prior statute protected name, image, and likeness, but it did not directly address new, customized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation and allow users to generate unlawful phony works in the image and voice of people.

CONTEXT More generally, the emergence of AI has fuelled, opens new tab a variety of other worries as well, including the worry that technology may be used to undermine the democratic process, turbocharge fraud or lead to job loss. Europe is ahead, opens new tab of the U.S. on legislation surrounding AI, with legislators there crafting guidelines. 

Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden's administration is pressuring legislators for AI regulation, but a split U.S. Congress, where Republicans control the House of Representatives and Democrats control the Senate, has made little advance in establishing meaningful legislation.


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