Skyream: voice actors displeased by smutty game mods using AI to clone their voices

Originally published at: Skyream: voice actors displeased by smutty game mods using AI to clone their voices | Boing Boing


I really hope the discussion of the rights issues around content like voices and art don’t get stalled on the distractions that “porn” can present. Any artist in any medium may have dozens of reasons not to be willing to give consent to these new uses of their likeness, work or performances. Porn isn’t even the majority of the market for various uses of deepfake or re-generated voices, art or writing. The issue is that in all the decades any creator has been developing skills, talents and a career (livelihood), they never had any reason to think anyone could scrape their work and fake-replicate it for whatever other purpose. Tobacco or oil ads, whole music performances, movie voice tracks, all kinds of non-consensual and un-approved works might spring from this gap in content ownership. If a brand wants Missy Elliot, Shaq or Taylor Swift to sing or talk or hype their project, they already know that those “likenesses” are protected and worth $$$$. Just because someone doesn’t WANT to pay for such rights is not an excuse. Every artist in every medium should have their wishes and rights respected. Who wants to be told they’re fired and their expertise and work is no longer needed, EVER, since it’s been captured and bottled like a synthetic fragrance? “We can put Taylor on tour non-stop for 15 years and we don’t even need her around; we just animate a deepfake and push “sing” on the console! And the best part? She’ll never age! Instant $$!”


The host of the mods, Nexus Mods, invited artists to turn in formal complaints, but I get the feeling from from its blog post on the matter that it hasn’t sought legal advice on copyright and personality rights. Statements such as “we will be keeping a close eye on any legal precedents set as this technology matures and may update our policies” rather invites someone to make it the precedent.

I’m not weighing in on the ethics of AI voice modelling, but is safe harbour for hosts of user-created content totally dead in the US now? Nexus Mods didn’t create the mods, they’re just a hosting platform for the general community modding scene.

Having a complaint process for 3rd party material has been a thing since the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act.

Section 512 means that Nexus Mods is largely off the hook for even definitely-infringing stuff; but only so long as they aren’t knowingly leaving it up and have a mechanism for rightsholders to make complaints that they do actually act on.


Right, so Rob’s suggestion that they should be on the hook for this seems misplaced.

My suggestion is only that they’ve wrapped the hook in so much site policy and community leadership they might leap on it by mistake. (For example, by tryng to negotiate or investigate infringing material without legal advice upon receipt of a valid DMCA notice, rather than taking it down, or by not noticing that right of publicity and trademarks are different hooks to copyright)


I don’t know the answer to this - but would AI reproduction of a voice actually qualify for infringement?

If (for example) you were Rich Little and imitated one of a few hundred famous people you could do so without fear of being accused of violation.

Strict mechanical copying of someone - yes I can see that - I just don’t know if any original recording could qualify as infringement - despite the obvious implications to the future of voice acting as a profession.


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