Tennessee Makes A.I. an Outlaw to Protect Its Country Music and More

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.”

Luke Bryan snapped a selfie with State Representative William Lamberth and Governor Lee.Credit…Jason Kempin/Getty Images For Human Artistry

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.

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