Podcasters Threatened With Lawsuit Over AI-Generated Content

Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen from the Dudesy podcast have been served a cease-and-desist letter over a piece of AI-generated content they posted on their Patreon page. 

The video is made up of a series of AI-generated images of footballer Tom Brady accompanied by an hour-long comedy speech from a very realistic-sounding AI-generated imitation of the quarterback’s voice. 

Despite making it clear to audiences that the video was AI-generated (they called the episode ‘It’s Too Easy: A Simulated Hour-Long Comedy Special’) the NFL star’s team have threatened the podcasters with legal action. 

In an extract from the letter, posted on TMF, Brady’s lawyers say that the video “blatantly violates” Brady’s rights. As a result, the podcasters removed the video from their Patreon page, but you can still watch it on YouTube

As AI gets more and more embedded in our lives, the whole legal aspect of it all is becoming a bit of an elephant in the room. For podcasters who use AI a lot in their creation process, this is the kind of headline we’ve been dreading. 

But before we get into why using AI tools in podcasting responsibly doesn’t need to be such a minefield, let’s dive into what this AI voice cloning stuff is all about.

AI-Generated Celebrity Voices in Podcasting

There have been a whole load of new AI text-to-speech tools emerging over the last year or so. And as the technology’s gotten more sophisticated, AI voice-cloning tools have become a thing too. 

For example, you might’ve heard about ‘The Joe Rogan AI Experience’. This is a YouTube podcast by an anonymous creator. They use an AI-gen’d Joe Rogan voice to run entire fake interviews with celebrities Rogan has never had on his podcast. As you can imagine, Rogan wasn’t so happy about the podcast, tweeting “This is going to get very slippery, kids”. 

A while ago, we also reported that Spotify launched an AI radio DJ. Using a sophisticated AI voice generator, Sonantic they’ve started delivering spoken content during playlists in the voice of their own Head of Cultural Partnerships, Xavier “X” Jernigan.

AI and Copyright: How grey is this area?

Clearly, there’s a lot of grey area right now where AI-gen content and copyright are concerned. This is because a lot of the technology is relatively new, and it’s too early to know what falls inside and outside of the law. We’ll only know over time as we see how cases like Dudesy vs. Tom Brady pan out.

But there’s a whole other side to the AI copyright debate: bots using human creators’ content without permission.

A while ago, the Washington Post dove into which sources are used to train AI chatbots. They discovered that user-generated content sites like Patreon and Kickstarter are used in training. This raises concerns that content and ideas by artists, entrepreneurs and podcasters could be regurgitated in tools like ChatGPT without their consent.

So if you’ve been thinking you don’t need to bother about the legality of copying someone else’s work because the law hasn’t caught up yet, think about it ethically. How would you feel if someone was reusing content you’d worked hard on and passing it off as their own?

How To Avoid Copyright Infringement in Your AI-Generated Content

Using AI tools responsibly with your podcast all really boils down to using your common sense and judgement. If you think something you’re doing with AI seems ethically questionable, it probably is.

But here are a few pointers to think about:

Avoid using names of other people’s work in your chatGBT prompts 

Don’t upload other people’s art/images to podcast image generators or AI press kit generators when creating visual content

Reverse image search AI-generated images to make sure the tool hasn’t based its creation on someone else’s work. Here’s how to do it.

Always read your AI tool’s T&Cs as there may be legal recommendations in there to protect you.

And finally, if all this legal chat makes you feel uneasy, here’s something to think about:

Podcasts and podcasters have done great without AI for the entire history of the medium.

Remember you don’t need to use any AI to create a podcast that people love, and you won’t be left behind if you don’t.

Originally posted on May 3, 2023 @ 7:24 am

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