A newly proposed bipartisan senate bill seeks to bring greater legal protection to actors and recording artists by discouraging the use of AI-generated deepfakes without their permission.
If passed, the “Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe Act — or NO FAKES Act — would hold those who produce AI deepfakes liable in civil claims if the original artist were to pursue legal action over the unauthorized use of their likeness.
The bill was sponsored by senators Chris Coons, Marsha Blackburn, Amy Klobuchar and Thom Tillis.
AI has been a hot-button topic across the music, film, and television industries. Songs featuring voice-cloned vocals of artists like Drake, the Weeknd, and Bad Bunny have gone viral this year — albeit, to the concern of record companies like Universal Music Group, which have called for streaming services to take down music that features their artists’ voices without permission. Still, the industry has looked on with cautious optimism that other AI tools that help generate melodies and beats or mix records could help with the creation process. (Read More: How to Make A Viral AI Hit.)
Ghostwriter, the anonymous songwriter responsible for the viral Drake and Weeknd-cloned track “Heart on My Sleeve,” spoke with Billboard this week, saying that they expect AI tracks to continue — and for the music industry to adapt accordingly.
“These songs are going to live somewhere because the fans want them. We’ve experienced that with Ghostwriter,” Ghostwriter said. “The song is not available anymore by us, but I was just out in my area and heard someone playing “Heart on My Sleeve” in their car as they drove by. One way or another, we as the music industry need to come to terms with the fact that good music is always going to win. The consumer and the listener are always in the seat of power.”
Meanwhile, in film and television, screenwriters and actors both cited concerns about the use of AI in their negotiations with producers and studios amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes.
The language in the draft bill states that those who violate the rule would be on the hook for $5,000 per violation or the damages suffered by the party who brought the claim forward. The bill currently lists several exemptions for liability, including use for news, public affairs, sports broadcasts, documentaries, and other historical or biographical works.
The RIAA, which represents the major record companies and launched the Human Artistry Campaign earlier this year to advocate for artist-forward AI policies, lauded the new proposal in a statement.
“Our industry has long embraced technology and innovation, including AI, but many of the recent generative AI models infringe on rights – essentially instruments of theft rather than constructive tools aiding human creativity,” the RIAA said. We applaud Senators Coons, Blackburn, Tillis, and Klobuchar for recognizing that unauthorized uses of one’s name, image, likeness, and voice are a clear threat to artists, songwriters, performers, authors, journalists, photographers, and the entire creative community. We look forward to engaging in a robust bipartisan process with a strong bill that effectively protects against this illegal and immoral misappropriation of fundamental rights that protect human achievement.”