Reed Smith Client Alerts

Key takeaways

  • Tennessee has enacted the Ensuring Likeness, Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act, making it the first state to pass a law aimed at protecting artists from generative AI services that enable impersonation, such as deepfakes
  • The ELVIS Act, effective July 1, 2024, updates Tennessee’s right of publicity law by holding liable those who create content containing a simulated voice or likeness without consent, as well as those who develop and provide tools that generate them
  • Given the increased popularity of GenAI in content creation, we can expect to see other states and federal regulations follow Tennessee’s lead
Biometric scanner is scanning face of young man. Artificial intelligence concept.

Generative AI (GenAI) is disrupting content industries, giving rise to both opportunities and challenges as creators attempt to leverage the technology to generate content. A recent development flooding streaming services and social media is the use of AI-synthesized voices and images (i.e., deepfakes) to mimic popular artists and celebrities, raising concerns about the right of publicity (ROP) and copyright protections of the original artists, songwriters and other music industry professionals.

Tennessee became the first state to pass legislation protecting the voices of artists from GenAI cloning and services that enable impersonation. Below, we highlight some noteworthy aspects of the recent updates to Tennessee’s law, which goes into effect July 1, 2024.

The ELVIS Act updates Tennessee’s right of publicity law by granting individuals rights over their voice in any medium and in any manner, “regardless of whether the sound contains the actual voice or a simulation of the voice of the individual.”

In addition to imposing civil liability on any on any end user who, without prior consent or authorization, knowingly creates or publishes an individual’s name, image, voice or likeness for commercial purposes, such as advertising goods or services, fundraising or soliciting donations, the ELVIS Act imposes liability on certain technology providers. Specifically, the ELVIS Act extends liability to the providers and developers of technology where the primary purpose of the technology “is the production of a particular, identifiable individual’s photograph, voice, or likeness, with knowledge that distributing, transmitting, or otherwise making available the photograph, voice, or likeness was not authorized by the individual.”