How The House's No AI FRAUD Act And Tenn.'s ELVIS Act Will Protect Human Creativity
Secretary/Treasurer of the Recording Academy’s Board of Trustees Gebre Waddell

Photo: Ed Rode / Getty Images


How The House's No AI FRAUD Act And Tenn.'s ELVIS Act Will Protect Human Creativity

The Recording Academy is leading the way in protecting artists, songwriters and producers from the detrimental effects of AI cloning.

Advocacy/Jan 19, 2024 - 07:26 pm

In the evolving landscape of technology, personalized generative artificial intelligence (AI) cloning models now enable human impersonation, allowing users to create unauthorized fake works using the image, voice and style of musicians, songwriters, and producers. These digital replicas — soundalikes that mimic music makers — may be fun, but absent the consent of the artist they pose a real threat to human creativity.

While the Recording Academy welcomes and embraces technological advancements, our commitment is to safeguard the nature of art — human creativity and passion. That's why the Recording Academy is leading the way in protecting artists, songwriters and producers from the detrimental effects of AI cloning.

Since AI emerged as a technological advancement, the Recording Academy has been quick to engage with policymakers around the country to ensure human creativity is always at the forefront of policy. And on Jan. 10, two important policy developments took place with the support of the Recording Academy and its members.

First, in Nashville, the Recording Academy joined with Gov. Bill Lee, House Majority Leader William Lamberth and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, and dozens of artists, songwriters, music executives, and industry groups to introduce the Ensuring Likeness, Voice, Image Security (ELVIS) Act.

The ELVIS Act is the first bill in the nation with a focus on safeguarding the core elements of artistic identity: voices, lyrics, and likenesses. The bill builds upon Tennessee's existing Right of Publicity statute to ensure artists' creative expressions remain authentic and shielded from exploitation in an era where AI can easily blur the lines between creativity and deceit.

Upon introduction of the historic legislation, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said, "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."

Gebre Waddell, the Recording Academy's national Secretary/Treasurer, spoke at the event on behalf of his Memphis music community and offered similar praise for the ELVIS Act. He was joined by a number of Academy leaders from Tennessee including Nashville Chapter board members Maggie Rose and Matt Maher, past president Ruby Amanfu, and Executive Director Alicia Warwick, and Memphis Chapter Board Members Boo Mitchell and Pat Mitchell Worley, and Executive Director Jon Hornyak.

The ELVIS Act is expected to be quickly considered by the state's legislature, and with support from the Governor could soon become the first law of its kind. And the Recording Academy hopes it will also become model legislation for other states to follow.

That same day, leaders on Capitol Hill took a similar step to protecting creators' identity with the bipartisan introduction of the No AI FRAUD Act (H.R. 6943). Introduced by Reps. Maria Salazar (R-FL), Madeline Dean (D-PA), Nathaniel Moran (R-TX), Rob Wittman (R-VA), and Joe Morelle (D-NY). The bill is the first federal solution with protections for all Americans who could be vulnerable to fraudulent replicas. Importantly, H.R. 6943 reaffirms that everyone's likeness and voice is federally protected and that they have the ability to enforce this right against misuse.

The No FRAUD Act has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration and has quickly garnered widespread support from the music industry, including the Recording Academy, and is also backed by the Human Artistry CampAIgn, which the Academy helped launch in 2023. This campaign is dedicated to preserving the human element in art, ensuring it stays at the forefront of the industry as new laws and regulations concerning AI take shape.

Following H.R. 6943's introduction, Mason jr. said "We are grateful to Reps. Salazar, Dean, Moran, Morelle, and Wittman for working to protect the voice and visual likeness of artists, performers, and songwriters from being replicated and exploited without consent. We look forward to working alongside our nation's leaders to ensure that music can continue to thrive in this new era of technological advancement."

His support was similarly echoed by Latin Recording Academy CEO Manuel Abud who stated "AI will unequivocally play a role in shaping the future of the music industry, and it is of the utmost importance that we work together to protect the rights of music creators everywhere as the technology develops. I applaud this effort by members of Congress to support the creative community."

The call for collective action against AI fraud in the music industry is a pressing one. It is only through a united front that we can safeguard the industry's authenticity and secure a future where human music creators can create, free from the fear of exploitation. Both the No AI FRAUD Act and the ELVIS Act are important steps to protect human creativity while harnessing the power of technology for good.

Stay tuned for ongoing updates as the Recording Academy persistently advocates for the rights of music creators, regardless of the evolving technological landscape.

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