Elvis Act Signed Into Tennessee Law to Protect Musicians From AI Deepfakes

Described as “first-of-its-kind legislation,” the act seeks to protect artists against artificial intelligence misuses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed the ELVIS Act into law on Thursday in an effort to protect musicians from unauthorized artificial intelligence deep fakes and voice clones.

The bill, short for the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security Act, updates the state’s Protection of Personal Rights law (which protects an individual’s “name, photograph, or likeness”), to include protections for artists’ voices from AI misuse.

At honky-tonk Robert’s Western World in Nashville, Lee was surrounded by legislative leadership and country stars Luke Bryan and Chris Janson as he signed the bill, which is being described as “first-of-its-kind legislation.”

“From Beale Street to Broadway, to Bristol and beyond, Tennessee is known for our rich artistic heritage that tells the story of our great state,” said Lee, per a press release. “As the technology landscape evolves with artificial intelligence, I thank the General Assembly for its partnership in creating legal protection for our best-in-class artists and songwriters.”

Bryan addressed the crowd gathered on Thursday and called the moment “an amazing precedent to set for the state of Tennessee.” He continued, “The leaders of this are showing artists who are moving here following their dreams that our state protects what we work so hard for, and I personally want to thank all of our legislators and people who made this bill happen. It’s hard to wrap your head around what is going on with AI, but I know the ELVIS Act will help protect our voices.” 


The rise of AI has become a growing concern among both artists and lawmakers as both have pushed for stronger protections over musicians’ copyrights and intellectual property. Companies like Splice and Soundful have generated AI-created beats and songs at the push of a button, while AI voice cloning tools have helped songwriters produce viral (and controversial) songs that mimic superstar artists — last year, voice-cloning tech created an uproar in the industry after an anonymous TikTok user made a popular song using the cloned vocals of Drake and the Weeknd

In January, Lee introduced the ELVIS act with the support of State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lambert. The act prohibits people from using AI to mimic an artist’s voice without their permission and can be criminally enforced as a Class A misdemeanor.

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Charisma Madarang