A2IM In Nashville To Support Introduction Of The Ensuring Likeness Voice & Image Security Act

(Photo credit: Ed Rode, Getty)

Music has the power to change and connect communities, and today in the heart of Music City Governor Bill Lee introduced bicameral legislation alongside State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-27) and House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-44) that will protect Tennessee music. The Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act updates Tennessee's Protection of Personal Rights law, making it the first state in the nation to preserve individual voice, image and likeness against irresponsible and unethical artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of deepfakes and audio cloning.

GRAMMY, Dove and American Music Awards-winning contemporary Christian legend Michael W. Smith will welcome artist and songwriter peers, the music community and legislative leaders. “As a working artist and songwriter, I know how vital it is to build a creative environment that protects the work and individuality of future generations of dreamers. While I am grateful for existing tools that have helped me craft both my music and my message, even more personal gifts and attributes have a right to be protected from digital manipulations. I'm honored to be here today as a voice supporting the ELVIS Act to protect my fellow musicians today and in the future.” 

The ease and pace of AI-generated forgeries risk crowding out legitimate works created by real people, who have spent years honing their talent and persona. The harmful misuse of technology by some platforms threatens the future of Tennessee's creators, the jobs that they support across the state and country, and the bonds between fans and their favorite bands. Updated state laws such as the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act put value on actual human individuality over those who would profit from AI deepfakes and fraud. Tennessee's foresight in this space will offer protections for songwriters, performers, and music industry professionals' voice, image and likeness from the misuse of artificial intelligence. 

Governor Lee explained the importance of this legislation to Tennessee's creatives, “From Beale Street to Broadway and beyond, Tennessee is known for our rich artistic heritage that tells the story of our great state. As the technology landscape evolves with artificial intelligence, we're proud to lead the nation in proposing legal protection for our best-in-class artists and songwriters.” 

Other attendees supporting today's update to Tennessee's Right of Publicity law include artists, songwriters, producers and engineers: Ruby Amanfu, Steve Cropper, Tom Douglas, Lindsay Ell, Matt Maher, Jamie Moore, Ari Morris, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell (Royal Studios), Maggie Rose, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Gebre Waddell, Matthew West and Lainey Wilson.

"I commend Governor Lee of Tennessee for this forward-thinking legislation. Protecting the rights to an individual's name, voice, and likeness in the digital era is not just about respecting personal identity but also about safeguarding the integrity of artistic expression. This act is a significant step towards balancing innovation with the rightful interests of creators and performers. It acknowledges the evolving landscape of technology and media, setting a precedent for responsible and ethical use of personal attributes, in the music industry.” - A2IMPresident & CEO Dr. Richard James Burgess 

"The Artist Rights Alliance is grateful to Gov. Lee, State Senator Jack Johnson and Rep. William Lamberth for launching this effort to prevent an artist's voice and likeness from being exploited without permission. Recording artists and performers put their very selves into their art. Scraping or copying their work to replicate or clone a musician's voice or image violates the most fundamental aspects of creative identity and artistic integrity. This important bill will help ensure that creators and their livelihoods are respected and protected in the age of AI." - ARTIST RIGHTS ALLIANCE Executive Director Jen Jacobsen 

“AI deepfakes and voice cloning threaten the integrity of all music. It makes sense that Tennessee state would pioneer these important policies which will bolster and protect the entire industry. Music creators face enough forces working to devalue their work – technology that steals their voice and likeness should not be one of them.” - NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHERS' ASSOCIATION (NMPA) President & CEO David Israelite 

“The emergence of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) resulted in fake recordings that are not authorized by the artist and is wrong, period. The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) applauds Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, State Senator Jack Johnson and Rep. William Lamberth for introducing legislation that adds the word “voice” to the existing law --- making it crystal clear that unauthorized AI-generated fake recordings are subject to legal action in the State of Tennessee. This is an important step in what will be an ongoing challenge to regulate generative AI music creations.” - NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison 

“As AI technology continues to develop, today marks an important step towards groundbreaking state-level AI legislation. This bipartisan, bicameral bill will protect Tennessee's creative community against AI deepfakes and voice cloning, and will serve as the standard for other states to follow. The Academy appreciates Governor Lee and bipartisan members of the Tennessee legislature for leading the way – we're eager to collaborate with lawmakers to move this bill forward.” - RECORDING ACADEMY CEO Harvey Mason jr. 

“Responsible innovation has expanded the talents of creators – artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, and visual performers, among others – for decades, but use of generative AI that exploits an individual's most personal attributes without consent is detrimental to our humanity and culture. We applaud Governor Bill Lee, State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lamberth's foresight in launching this groundbreaking effort to defend creators' most essential rights from AI deepfakes, unauthorized digital replicas and clones. The ELVIS Act reaffirms the State of Tennessee's commitment to creators and complements Senator Blackburn's bipartisan work to advance strong legislation protecting creators' voices and images at the federal level.” - RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Glazier 

“SAG-AFTRA applauds lawmakers who see the importance of protecting everyone's right to their likeness and voice. Our thanks to the Governor and legislators for introducing this critical update to Tennessee's Protection of Personal Rights. This bill provides critical protections against unauthorized digital replication and cloning, practices all too common in today's evolving digital world. Fans deserve authentic performances, and artists, singers and musicians deserve the strongest intellectual property rights in their voices and likenesses. Let's ensure a future where technology works for us all, not against us.” - SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland 

“Evolving laws to keep pace with technology is essential to protecting the creative community. As we embrace the enormous potential of artificial intelligence, Tennessee is working to ensure that music and those who make it are protected under the law from exploitation without consent, credit, and compensation. We applaud the cradle of country music and the birthplace of rock n' roll for leading the way.” - SOUNDEXCHANGE President & CEO Michael Huppe

ABOUT A2IMA2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of over 600 independently owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America's creative class that represents America's diverse musical and cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry's U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector. More information is available here.