Note from David Oxenford: Seth Resler of Jacobs Media yesterday wrote on his Connecting the Dots blog about the ease of synthesizing the voice of a celebrity, and the temptation to use that replicated voice in an on-air broadcast. Last week, in an article on policy issues raised by AI, we mentioned that some states have adopted laws that limit the use of synthesized media in political advertising. In Seth’s article, he quotes Belinda Scrimenti of my law firm pointing out some of the legal issues that arise from using a synthesized voice even in entertainment programming, and especially in commercials. Belinda has expanded on her thoughts and offers the following observations on the use of synthesized personalities on radio or TV.
The advent of artificial intelligence poses interesting and often challenging legal issues because the law is still “catching up” with the technology. Consider the impact of new AI platforms that can learn a person’s voice, then speak whatever text you submit to it in that person’s voice. If a user submits 60 seconds of Taylor Swift audio to the AI platform, the platform can use this sample to learn to “speak” as Taylor Swift, and the user can then have “her” say whatever the user wants.
While some states are considering or have adopted some restrictions on impersonation by AI, many existing legal concepts applied with traditional celebrity impersonation claims are already applicable to this kind of synthesized celebrity impersonation. Thus, if the use by a broadcaster of Taylor Swift’s voice (either taped and edited or impersonated by a human) would violate the right of publicity that is already found in the law of most states, the use of her AI voice would also violate these same rights.