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The Tennessee Legislature Could Make Posting Your Concert Pictures Illegal

Imagine a government outlawing auto-color correction on a picture you took at a concert. While that may sound absurd, the Tennessee legislature is currently considering a bill that would do just that—the so-called Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (ELVIS) Act.

While lawmakers were aiming to safeguard individuals’ digital likenesses from AI generation, unfortunately, that would not be the effect of this proposal. 

Let’s start with the overly broad and vague definitions. With no clear definitions of terms like “artificial intelligence,” it’s a legal free-for-all. 

Imagine this: you post a picture of a famous singer at a concert on your social channels. But, boom! You’re slapped with a lawsuit because someone claims the singer’s “likeness” was used without their consent. It sounds absurd, but that is what the law does in effect.

The ELVIS Act casts a net so wide that it accidentally would catch innocent bystanders along with the supposed culprits. Picture this: you’re innocently sharing a clip of your friend’s stand-up routine. Suddenly, you’re in court because your friend’s joke bears a striking resemblance to a famous comedian’s material. Talk about guilt by association.

The ELVIS Act could additionally turn every click into a legal landmine. If you were to edit a photo on your phone to brighten the colors, if this bill became law, you would now be legally obligated to slap a disclaimer on your masterpiece, warning the world about your “AI-assisted edits.”

There are better approaches to governing AI tools.

Rather than leaping headfirst into this legal quagmire, Tennessee should focus on enforcing existing laws against deceptive practices. Fraud is already illegal as is deception. Misappropriating someone’s likeness is also enforceable under existing law. 

Instead of passing the ELVIS Act, Tennessee’s legislature should consider passing bills like the Stop Deepfake CSAM Act to tackle the dark corners of AI-generated child exploitation material or the Stop Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Deepfake Media Act to put the brakes on AI-enabled revenge porn.

Let’s not turn Tennessee into a legal battleground where innocent social media posts become court summons. It’s time to stop throwing glitter on the ELVIS ACT and focus on real solutions to real problems.