Protecting Performers: New Legislation Aims to Safeguard Artists from AI Imitations

NNicholas October 13, 2023 12:01 AM

The newly proposed No Fakes Act aims to shield actors, singers, and other artists from unauthorized AI recreations of their physical or vocal personas. This bipartisan bill aims to create a federal standard to counteract the fragmentation of digital rights laws across states.

No Fakes Act: An attempt to regulate digital replicas

The Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe Act of 2023, also known as the No Fakes Act, represents a bipartisan effort to curb unapproved digital duplication of performers' faces, voices, and even names. Its primary purpose is to prevent the creation of a digital replica without the consent of the individual concerned or the rights holder. However, exceptions are made for news, public affairs, sports broadcasts, documentaries, biographical works, parodies, satire, and criticism.

Posthumous protection of digital rights

The proposed law emphasizes that the rights to an individual's digital likeness are not limited to their lifetime. The act provides for these rights to continue to be protected for 70 years posthumously, empowering estates to enforce these rights. Its relevance is accentuated by the ongoing advancements in AI that enable the creation of ever more realistic digital replicas.

As it stands, likeness laws vary greatly from state to state, often making it difficult to enforce an artist's right to publicity consistently. If passed, the No Fakes Act could essentially federalize likeness laws, creating a nationwide standard. This could help to address current fragmentation and inconsistencies, particularly in the digital realm, where the proliferation of AI tools have made unauthorized duplication of likenesses increasingly common.

Mixed reactions to the proposed No Fakes Act

The proposed legislation has sparked a diverse array of responses. Organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Human Artistry Campaign have expressed support, stating that while they welcome AI as a creative tool, its misuse for stealing copyrighted material is concerning. However, there are also voices of caution. Legal experts like Jeremy Elman point out that the act doesn't appear to offer protections beyond existing copyright or right of publicity law. He warns against hastily creating new federal IP rights that may conflict with established balances in the IP system.

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