While Communications partner Scott Flick has not yet received many questions from radio stations about the use of generative AI in their radio broadcasts, he told Radio World “that will change when we have a major incident involving a broadcaster’s use of AI, and everyone is suddenly hyper-focused on ensuring the same thing doesn’t happen to their own station.”

Among other concerns, “Third-party issue ads always create the risk of the station being sued for defamation, so stations have the same obligation to do their diligence on the truthfulness of such spots as they have always had,” Flick said. “The use of AI in the creation of such spots just makes it that much more difficult for a station to spot deceptive material, which is why the state broadcasters associations have been focused on ensuring state legislation on AI makes clear that it is the advertiser, and not the station airing the ad, who should be at risk for the content of that ad.”

Profiting from an individual’s synthetic voice will violate “right of publicity” laws unless the radio station has secured the necessary rights, Flick noted.

“Life will get trickier when the response to these laws is voices that sound a lot like a particular person, but not quite identical,” he said. “That’s where courts will get involved, making findings as to when the creator of an artificial voice is profiting off of someone else’s fame, versus the artificial voice just having a few characteristics in common with a famous voice. That will be expensive litigation, regardless of who wins.”

Flick, who serves as counsel to the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations, said that he is “seeing state bills pop up almost daily, as legislators seek to ensure that the law stays ahead of AI developments, if that’s possible, rather than forever playing catch up. However, the most notable aspect of these legislative efforts is the struggle to define what uses of AI are ‘bad’ and then what to do about them. Over time, we’ll find out which approaches are most effective, and the laws will then start to converge on those successful approaches.”