Tennessee House advances ELVIS Act to protect musicians against AI infringement


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The Tennessee House Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee passed a new bill on Feb. 13 with a unanimous vote in an effort to protect musicians against abuse at the hands of artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act (HB 2091), also known as ELVIS, was introduced by the state’s governor, Bill Lee, in January 2024, targeting unethical uses of AI such as the unauthorized use of artists’ voice, image and likeness.

ELVIS advocates on behalf of the state’s music community, though it applies to all residents of the state of Tennessee. It was also backed by State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lamberth.

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House Majority Leader William Lamberth speaks before the subcommittee on Feb. 13. Source: Tennessee House

Nashville, the capital city of the state of Tennessee, is one of the top three locations for music industry activity in the United States. According to data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the music industry in Nashville contributes $5.5 billion to the local economy, with a total output of $9.7 billion for the entire Nashville area.

Therefore, the introduction of the ELVIS Act through representatives in the state of Tennessee holds major significance for its working population.

During the subcommittee meeting, legislators heard testimonies from the singer and actress Chrissy Metz, along with Nashville Songwriter Association board member and songwriter Jamie Moore and the senior vice president for public policy of the RIAA, Jessie Richard.

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Singer and actress Chrissy Metz and Nashville Songwriter Association board member and songwriter Jamie Moore testifying before the subcommittee on Feb. 13. Source: Tennessee House

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Speaking on the ELVIS Act, Moore said the “light speed” development and advancement of generative AI have the capacity to “end the business of music as we know it.”

“When a machine can take songs born from a lifetime of my experiences and produce a record that an artist never authorized, never even sang, resulting in a fake version release without permission or payment, that is wrong, that is theft, and we need to protect against it.”

He highlighted the importance of music in the “fabric” of the local culture and economy, saying it’s “no surprise” that Tennessee is at the forefront of protecting creators “by telling the rest of the world that human creativity is important and must be guarded against those to wish to prey upon it.”

“The ELVIS Act modernizes currency Tennessee law by adding the word ‘voice,’ making it crystal clear that unauthorized AI-generated fake recordings are subject to legal action in the state of Tennessee.”

Richard of the RIAA said, “It is worth emphasizing that the ELVIS Act applies to everyone. All Tennesseans deserve to have their voices and likenesses protected, and this bill will ensure just that.”

The subcommittee’s approval of the bill comes shortly after support from almost 300 creatives, including the CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., on a federal bill called the No AI Fraud Act, which touches upon similar protections for artists in the context of AI. 

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