The creative community in the United States has praised Tennessee’s passage of the “Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act”.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed the bipartisan ELVIS Act into law on Thursday (March 21) at a honky tonk in Nashville.

The ELVIS Act will go into effect on July 1 and will update the state’s current right of publicity.

The measure was introduced in January to strengthen Tennessee’s Protection of Personal Rights statute, including safeguards for composers, singers, and music industry professionals’ voices against the exploitation of artificial intelligence (AI).

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The office of the governor, Bill Lee, said in a press release that, according to the governor, “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” .

The statement continued, “Artists and musicians at all levels are subjected to exploitation and theft of their integrity, identity, and humanity. This jeopardizes the future of Tennessee’s creators, the jobs they provide across the state and country, and the ties that fans form with their favorite bands.”

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The ELVIS Act is touted as the first legislation of its sort in the United States to expand on existing state statutes safeguarding against the illegal use of someone’s likeness by including “voice” in the domain it protects.

“The ELVIS Act, appropriately named after one of the world’s most renowned voices, marks a watershed moment in history, protecting us all from reckless and unethical artificial intelligence. The Human Artistry Campaign applauds this strong, bipartisan effort to put an end to unauthorized AI-generated deepfakes and voice clones that steal important aspects of human identity,” stated Dr. Moiya McTier, Senior Advisor for the Human Artistry Campaign.

“The life’s work and irreplaceable contributions of the creative community to our culture deserve safeguards that allow AI technology to be used responsibly without violating anyone’s rights or appropriating their art.”

Luke Bryan, an American Idol judge, told a gathering in Nashville on Thursday, “What a great example to set for the state of Tennessee. The leaders of this demonstrate artists who are migrating here to pursue their ambitions that our state protects what we work so hard for, and I personally want to thank all of our politicians and everyone who helped make this bill a reality. It’s difficult to understand what’s going on with AI, but I’m confident the ELVIS Act will help protect our voices.

On Thursday, several members of the Human Artistry Campaign published remarks in support of Tennessee’s passage of the ELVIS Act.

“In this rapidly changing technological landscape, Tennessee’s swift action on the ELVIS Act represents a critical step forward for music industry protection,” stated Dr. Richard James Burgess MBE, President & CEO of A2IM (American Association of Independent Music).

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“It’s encouraging to see such forward-thinking action to protect our musicians’ distinct features against AI replication. This regulation is more than just about protecting personal rights; it is a step toward preserving the uniqueness and soul of music for future generations. Governor Lee’s initiative to advocate the ELVIS Act is a good step toward preserving music’s true nature.

Jen Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), stated, “Artist Rights Alliance thanks Governor Lee and the Tennessee legislature for championing this landmark new law that will curtail the destructive practice of AI deepfakes and voice clones.” The ELVIS Act exemplifies how to protect the fundamental essence of an artist’s work — their voice and likeness — while also encouraging responsible and ethical usage of AI.”

Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, Co-Founder, President, and CEO of BMAC (Black Music Action Coalition), stated, “Black Music Action Coalition supports this first-of-its-kind legislation, as the misuse of AI could devastate Black music creators, who already face an uphill battle.” Our primary goal is to highlight the greater justice movement in the music industry, and we applaud Tennessee for setting the bar for AI protection laws. We hope that other states will follow Tennessee’s lead in protecting the creative community.

Susan Genco, MAC (Music Artists Coalition) Board Member, stated: “The Music Artists Coalition (MAC) is extremely grateful to Tennessee and Governor Lee for The Elvis Act! Tennessee’s leadership in protecting musical artists from the imminent threat of AI deepfakes is especially appropriate given the state’s rich musical history and the amazing Tennessee artists who call it home.”

According to Bart Herbison, Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), “The ELVIS Act was the first legislation to put important guardrails around music created using Artificial Intelligence.” The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) was happy to play a role in its adoption, and we hope it serves as a model for similar federal legislation and a beginning point for additional essential creator rights in the field of artificial intelligence. We appreciate Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, and House Majority Leader William Lamberth for their leadership in securing unanimous adoption of the ELVIS Act.”

David Israelite, President and CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), stated, “The Elvis Act is a critical step forward in the fight to respect songwriters and artists in the age of AI. Impersonating inventors is the ultimate theft, and this provides the framework for robust laws against unethical imitations. We’ve already seen the potential of voice replication, and it’s critical that we establish parameters before it poses an even larger threat to the integrity of music.”

The Recording Academy’s CEO, Harvey Mason Jr., stated: “The Recording Academy celebrates the passage of the ELVIS Act as a groundbreaking achievement in the effort to protect human creators in the age of AI.” This milestone exemplifies the power of teamwork, and it was a delight to work with our Human Artistry Campaign partners, Governor Lee, and the Tennessee state legislators to advance the ELVIS Act. Today is only the beginning; as AI advances, the Recording Academy and its members will continue to advocate for real legislation across the country that benefits musicians and human innovation.”

Mitch Glazier, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), stated, “This tremendous result once again illustrates that when the music community comes together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. We congratulate Tennessee’s prompt and smart bipartisan leadership in the fight against unconsented AI deepfakes and voice clones, and we hope that other states and the US Congress will act quickly to safeguard all Americans’ unique dignity and individuality.

SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said, “SAG-AFTRA applauds Governor Lee for leading the nation in instituting meaningful protections against the misappropriation of voice and likeness by artificial intelligence.” We believe that this legislation will serve as a model for politicians across the country, and we pledge the support of our members in the music, television, film, broadcast, and video gaming industries. SAG-AFTRA is committed to preventing its members’ photos, voices, and likenesses from being copied by AI without their informed consent and appropriate pay. The ELVIS Act represents a significant step in this direction.”

Dina LaPolt, Board Member of Songwriters of North America (SONA), stated, “In today’s ever-changing technological world, protecting the authenticity of creative works is more important than ever.” The Songwriters of North America (SONA) appreciates Tennessee’s quick action on the ELVIS Act. The measure is a significant step toward protecting songwriters’ and artists’ creativity while also maintaining the profession for future generations of creators.

In January, prominent figures in the music industry and other creative sectors applauded the introduction of a measure in the United States House of Representatives aimed at protecting people from having their appearance and voice exploited in AI-generated deepfakes.

On January 10, a bipartisan group of House Representatives led by Democrat Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Republican Maria Salazar of Florida introduced the No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas And Unauthorized Duplications (No AI FRAUD) Act.

The measure takes a significant step toward establishing a “right of publicity” at the federal level in the United States.