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**First State to Enact Legislation Safeguarding Athletes from Artificial Intelligence in Tennessee**

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee endorsed a bill on Thursday safeguarding artists, performers, and music industry professionals from potential artificial intelligence risks. This action positions Tennessee, renowned as the birthplace of country music and a hub for artistic heritage, as the pioneering state in the U.S. to implement such protective measures. Advocates emphasize the importance of preventing AI tools from reproducing artists’ creations without proper consent. The legislation will be effective starting July 1.

Following the bill’s enactment, Governor Lee emphasized Tennessee’s significant role in employment compared to other states, highlighting the intellectual property, assets, and unique creativity possessed by performers, distinguishing them from artificial intelligence.

The signing ceremony in Nashville for the Ensuring Likeness, Voice, and Image Security Act, also known as the “ELVIS Act,” featured Rep. William Lamberth, country artist Luke Bryan, singer Chris Janson, music professional Mitch Glazier, and Sen. Jack Johnson. This Act solidifies Tennessee as one of the three states recognizing title, image, and voice as property rights rather than mere publicity rights. The legislation extends protection to vocal likeness, aligning with the ELVIS Act.

Moreover, the law introduces a legal recourse to hold individuals accountable for unauthorized use of someone’s speech or technology-driven replication of an artist’s identity without consent.

Despite the widespread endorsement from the music industry and bipartisan approval in the Tennessee Statehouse, the effectiveness of this policy in safeguarding artists’ work from unauthorized AI replication remains uncertain. Musicians in Tennessee express urgency in addressing this issue, citing instances of AI replication affecting their work in smartphones and recording studios.

Governor Lee commemorated the bill’s signing at Robert’s Western World in Nashville’s Lower Broadway, a popular honky-tonk venue synonymous with classic country music and southern cuisine. The legislation, named after Elvis Presley, pays homage to the iconic figure while reinforcing the protection of personal rights, including names, images, and likenesses, for Tennessee’s public figures.

The legislative move, reminiscent of the Personal Rights Protection Act of 1984, ensures the inheritance and preservation of personal rights beyond an individual’s lifetime, shielding prominent figures like Elvis Presley from unauthorized exploitation posthumously. With the inclusion of vocal likeness in the protective measures, Tennessee continues to fortify the rights of its artistic community.

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