US voice actors claim AI firm illegally copied their voices

Actors claim that the firm deceived them into providing voice samples and is now selling AI versions of their voices without authorisation.

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Two voice actors have filed a lawsuit against AI startup Lovo in Manhattan federal court, alleging that the company illegally copied their voices for use in its AI voiceover technology without permission. Paul Skye Lehrman and Linnea Sage claim Lovo tricked them into providing voice samples under false pretences and is now selling AI versions of their voices. They seek at least $5 million in damages for the proposed class-action suit, accusing Lovo of fraud, false advertising, and violating their publicity rights.

The actors were approached via the freelance platform Fiverr for voiceover work, with Lehrman being told his voice would be used for a research project and Sage for test scripts for radio ads. However, Lehrman later discovered AI versions of his voice in YouTube videos and podcasts, while Sage found her voice in Lovo’s promotional materials. It was revealed that their Fiverr clients were actually Lovo employees, and the company was selling their voices under pseudonyms.

The mentioned lawsuit adds to the growing list of legal actions against tech companies for allegedly misusing content to train AI systems. Lehrman and Sage seek to prevent similar misuse of voices by Lovo and other companies, emphasising the need for accountability in the AI industry. Lovo has not yet responded to the allegations.