Tennessee U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) questioned the Librarian of Congress during a recent hearing about content generated by artificial intelligence (AI), specifically copyrighted material of artists and songwriters.

During a U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration’s hearing last week, lawmakers heard testimony from Librarian Of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, who oversees the U.S. Copyright Office.

Senator Hagerty asked Dr. Hayden how the Copyright Office plans to protect the copyrighted works and voices of performing artists amid the rapidly growing popularity and accessibility of AI.

Hayden confirmed that the Copyright Office is “rejecting claims to copyright protection for works or portions of works generated by AI…on the grounds that copyright requires human authorship.”

Hagerty then urged Hayden to “continue to maintain” her attention in regards to the matter, adding, “I think that you have an incredibly important role to play and an important leadership role to play that affects my state and an industry that’s very important.”

Hagerty added on a more broad note, “I’d like to point out that it isn’t an issue that narrowly applies to the music industry. Indeed, I think it represents a much larger and more complex set of issues that we’re going to have to address as a nation when we deal with Artificial Intelligence and as it proliferates across every aspect of our culture, society, or economy.”

Hagerty’s question regarding AI in the music industry comes shortly after an AI-generated song replicating the voices of artists Drake and The Weeknd went viral on social media last month, according to NBC.

Citing the AI-generated song, Hagerty added during the hearing, “While Artificial Intelligence offers many promising benefits, its increasing prevalence doesn’t come without certain drawbacks. Tennessee is home to so many performing artists and songwriters who have the potential to be greatly impacted by Artificial Intelligence.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Bill Hagerty” by Senator Bill Hagerty.