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AI Regulations on the Horizon

For the last several months, news reports have been filled with issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are seeing the beginning of an intense regulatory and legislative process that will occur at both the federal and state levels.

At the federal level, the White House issued a broad Executive Order. One aspect of this very long order that may ultimately impact broadcasters is the focus on notifying consumers about AI-generated “synthetic content.” For example, the Executive Order states as one of its goals:

“To foster capabilities for identifying and labeling synthetic content produced by AI systems, and to establish the authenticity and provenance of digital content, both synthetic and not synthetic, produced by the Federal Government or on its behalf:”

Of course, this largely applies to federal agencies. To meet this goal, the Secretary of Commerce will submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to identify best practices and develop standards to:

  • Authenticate content and track its provenance

  • Label synthetic content, such as using watermarking

  • Detect synthetic content


In response to this directive, the Federal Trade Commission plans to commence a proceeding to consider whether to initiate a proceeding that examines how to use its authority to protect consumers from AI-enabled voice cloning harms, such as fraud and the broader misuse of biometric data and creative content. Specifically, the FTC will be looking at voice cloning:

Voice Cloning Challenge Announcement: FTC staff will announce an exploratory Voice Cloning Challenge to encourage the development of multidisciplinary solutions—from products to procedures—aimed at protecting consumers from artificial intelligence-enabled voice cloning harms, such as fraud and the broader misuse of biometric data and creative content. The challenge complements efforts across the federal government to address and mitigate the risks of AI.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed his concerns about the need for Congress to address AI in the context of political advertisements and campaigns. AI-related bills are being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

At the state level, we are also seeing AI-related legislation being introduced in both the New York State Assembly and Senate. A number of these bills address the problems with AI in the context of political advertising, as well as commercial advertising.  

Basic Principles: Legislation and regulation relating to AI can be very complex. We will be approaching these efforts from a basic set of principles.

  • Content Issues

    • Generative AI should not be able to use or “scrape” our content without our consent and payment.

    • Broadcasters should not be liable where content is taken, modified, and then used by AI in a disparaging manner.

  • Broadcasters should not be liable for broadcasting “fake” content not created and produced by the station.

    • Stations receive and broadcast thousands of hours of content every week from program suppliers and lack the ability to review and edit all content. Stations have no way to determine what is fake.

    • Liability, if any, should apply only to the entity that creates and produces false “synthetic” content and the AI software/system that generates the content, not the broadcaster.

    • Stations must be given prior notice and an opportunity to cure before any liability can be imposed.

    • There needs to be exemptions from liability for news and public affairs programs.

  • Local stations should be given the opportunity to use AI where applicable, consistent with its FCC obligation to serve the public interest.

We plan to apply these basic principles to both state and federal legislation. Of course, each bill will present its own issues. Moreover, priorities may change. However, we need to approach AI-related legislation to allow stations to continue serving their communities using the latest technology while at the same time protecting them from unwarranted litigation.

You can see the FTC’s Meeting Notice regarding proposed AI regulations here.

You can see the White House’s  Executive Order here.

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