Michigan Governor Signs Bills Regulating AI-Generated Political Ads Into Law

New laws aimed at updating Michigan’s election laws should make it easier to identify political ads created by using artificial intelligence (AI). The laws, which went into effect on Feb. 13, 2024, also prohibit the distribution of deceptive media to influence the outcome of an election.

Under the new law, those who create campaign advertisements and other political media using AI disclose clearly that it was wholly or substantially generated by AI.

What AI-generated content is regulated by the new laws?

Covered content includes any paid ad or sponsored content relating to a candidate for federal, state, or local office in Michigan, or a ballot question that contains any visual or audio media created in part or fully using AI.

A person, committee, or other entity who creates, originally publishes, or posts certain political ads is required to clearly and conspicuously state that it was created with or by AI.

The following rules apply to ads created wholly or substantially by AI:

  • A graphic – The statement would have to be in the same language as the rest of the communication and appear in letters at least as large as the majority of the text in the ad;
  • Audio – The statement would have to be at least three seconds in length and spoken in an audible and intelligible manner in the same language as the rest of the communication at either the beginning or end of the communication; or
  • Video – The statement would have to meet the requirements for audio communication and appear for at least four seconds in letters that are as large as the majority of any text included in the video.

Restrictions on “deepfakes” in the media

The new laws also places restrictions on deceptive media, which is commonly known as “deepfakes.” Under the law deepfakes include any AI-created image, audio, or video where the media falsely depicts an individual engaging in speech or conduct in which he or she did not engage.

Unless a disclaimer is included informing the viewer that the audio, video, or images have been manipulated, it is unlawful for a person to create and/or distribute deepfake posts within 90 days before an election.

What will the disclaimer state?

The law provides that the following example disclaimer would be sufficient to satisfy the requirement:

“This (image, audio, or video) has been manipulated by technical means and depicts speech or conduct that did not occur.”

What media is exempt from the law regulating AI-generated content?

The law does not apply to:

  • A radio or television station that broadcasts an AI-generated ad as part of a newscast, news interview, news documentary, or news event provided the broadcast acknowledges the use of AI;
  • A platform that regularly publishes news and commentary (regularly published newspaper, magazine, website, or other generally circulated periodical);
  • A political advertisement that is a satire or parody;
  • A business or an affiliate of that business that is regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission or the Federal Communications Commission.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions related to the changes in Michigan law. To speak with an attorney, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Municipal, Uncategorized