Tennessee Law Prohibits AI Tools From Replicating Musicians

This is important, because AI is so quickly making inroads into the creative arts — which are no longer creative when machine learning creates it, right? It’s more like sampling. So we’ll see more and more of these laws, especially when a billion-dollar industry like Nashville’s music industry is involved. Via the New York Times:

The floor in front of the stage at Robert’s Western World, a beloved lower Broadway honky-tonk in Nashville, was packed on Thursday afternoon.

But even with the country music superstar Luke Bryan and multiple other musicians on hand, the center of attention was Gov. Bill Lee and his Elvis Act.

And Mr. Lee did not disappoint, signing into law the Ensuring Likeness, Voice and Image Security Act, a first-in-the-nation bill that aims to protect musicians from artificial intelligence by adding penalties for copying a performer’s “voice” without permission.

“There are certainly many things that are positive about what A.I. does,” Mr. Lee told the crowd. But, he added, “when fallen into the hands of bad actors, it can destroy this industry.”

The use of A.I. technology — and its rapid fire improvement in mimicking public figures — has led several legislatures to move to tighten regulations over A.I., particularly when it comes to election ads. The White House late last year imposed a sweeping executive order to push for more guardrails as Congress wrestles with federal regulations.

Of course, these laws will have their own pitfalls:

And given the broad definition of voice, one legal expert wondered, what would this mean for tribute bands, or the men who have perfected an Elvis impersonation?

“It’s not what the bill is intended to do, but when a law is drafted in a way that allows people to make mischief with it, mischief tends to follow,” said Joseph Fishman, a professor of law at Vanderbilt University.

But Mr. Fishman emphasized that even if the measure requires some further tailoring in the coming years, it remained “a well intentioned bill that does do a lot of good.”

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