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Another bill aimed at AI technology moves in the Kentucky General Assembly

Left to Right-Jesse Richard with the Recording Industry Association of America-Singer Eddie Montgomery-Wester Kentucky Senator Whitney Westerfield
Stu Johnson
Left to Right-Jesse Richard with the Recording Industry Association of America-Singer Eddie Montgomery-Wester Kentucky Senator Whitney Westerfield

More than one piece of legislation this session in Frankfort has focused on artificial intelligence issues. The latest has implications for those looking to do harm in the entertainment industry.

The Senate committee-approved bill carries the title of an act relating to commercial rights to the use of names, voices, and likenesses. It’s aimed at protection against A-I-generated digital fakes. Testifying in support of the bill was Kentucky-born country singer Eddie Montgomery. He was asked afterward if the music industry is facing the biggest threat.

“I want to say because anything…bottom line is…anything that’s got a lot of money in it….it’s gonna be right in the middle of it, I promise you,” said Montgomery.

The legislation provides for liability, enforcement, and damages resulting from violations of the property rights. Committee Member Phillip Wheeler asked Bill Sponsor Whitney Westerfield about an AI generated baritone voice.

“The closer you get and approximate Eddie Montgomery’s voice or maybe the lyrics of songs he’s sung or what have you..I think you’re getting closer to the line of risk there,” said Westerfield

“If you called it the new hit by Phillip Wheeler in an AI baritone voice generated by chat GBT,” asked Wheeler.

“I think you’re safe legally but horribly in danger commercially,” said Westerfield.

Montgomery, a native of Danville, said following the committee approval there’s a place for AI, but it’s important to get ahead of it and not behind it. He went on to say, quote, “ We’ve worked hard to get where we are..songwriters and singers and everybody.”

Northern Kentucky Senator Shelley Funke Frommeyer said, quote, “This is such a real issue.” Bill Sponsor Westerfield told committee members Elvis impersonators or tribute performances are not impacted by the legislation. He said it’s aimed at artificially developed images and voices trying to fool or steal the performers’ brand. Asked earlier if the federal government would at some point take up the issue, Westerfield said he had no confidence action would be taken in Washington.

Other A-I bills relate to child pornography and political campaigns.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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