Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Proposes Legislation Targeting AI In Music Industry

Bill Lee
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Governor Bill Lee (R-TN) proposed new legislation on Wednesday which would help protect songwriters, performers, and other music industry professionals from violations related to the unauthorized use of artificial intelligence.

“Tennessee will be the first state in the country to protect artists’ voices with this legislation,” Lee said while announcing the bill, per USA Today. “And we hope it will be a blueprint for the country.”

The outlet noted that the bill hasn’t been formally introduced yet and the text isn’t available, but Lee described it as being inspired by the controversy with recording artist and Tennessee resident Elvis Presley following his death in 1977. At the time, there were multiple court battles and lawsuits over the use of Presley’s image without authorization. 

The bill is being called the ELVIS Act, as reported by Nashville outlet WPLN News, which stands for Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act.

The governor said the dangers of AI are similar because they allow unauthorized parties to replicate an artist’s image or sound without permission. 

Lee presented the bill at Nashville’s RCA Studio A while surrounded by a crowd of musicians, songwriters, and producers. “Every one of you who is an artist or an engineer or a producer,” the governor said, per WPLN. “You have a gift and it’s unique to you and it’s very important that not be copied, stolen, mocked. It’s very important that that be protected.”


“We have laws in place that have that have protected up to [now],” Lee continued. “But technology changes and new protections are necessary in artificial intelligence.”

Similar bills are being introduced in other states as legislators and industry leaders attempt to regulate the use of AI, which has been a hot button topic lately. It was one of the key issues during last year’s SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in Hollywood as actors and writers sought union protection from AI usage. 

The approved three year contracts for both organizations included guidelines and restrictions for the use of AI in those industries. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Proposes Legislation Targeting AI In Music Industry