NO FAKES Act prohibits creation, sharing of individuals’ voice, likeness in performance without consent
United States senators Chris Coons, Marsha Blackburn, Amy Klobuchar, and Thom Tillis introduced the draft of a new proposed bill on Thursday named the “Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe (NO FAKES) Act,” which aims to prohibit the use of individuals’ digitally replicated voices and likenesses or appearance without their consent.
The bill proposes that those who create or share a replication of an individual for performance in an audiovisual or sound recording without that individual’s consent would be liable for damages caused by the replication. The draft bill stated there would be exclusions for uses of the replication for First Amendement-protected works, including sports broadcasts, documentaries, biographical works, or for purposes of comment, criticism, or parody, among others.
Audiovisual content using AI-replicated or synthesized voices or appearances of famous performers have proliferated on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook in recent years, but have become especially prevalent in the past year, with many designed to emulate an actors’ specific performance of a character. Voice actors such as Allegra Clark, Erica Lindbeck, and Richard Epcar, among many others, have vocally opposed such replications done against their consent.
The draft references two recent high-profile incidents: one where an AI-generated fake “collaboration” song between Drake and The Weeknd went viral in April before being taken off streaming services, and one where Tom Hanks warned fans about a fake AI version of him in a dental commercial created without his consent earlier this month.
Sony Music Entertainment launched a new audiobook app named YOMIBITO Plus in March earlier this year. The app features classic works of Japanese literature read by synthesized voices of three voice actors, replicated with AI technology from the company CoeFont, including the replicated voice of the late voice actor Kenji Utsumi, who passed away in 2013.
In the United States, part of the reason for recent strikes from the Writers Guild of America and The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) labor unions is to ask for protections against and limitation on those industries’ use of AI. SAG-AFTRA released a statement on Thursday praising the proposed bill, stating, “SAG-AFTRA looks forward to working with Congress to finalize and pass this historic legislation.”