Chinese voice actor wins lawsuit against AI companies for using their voice without consent

Occurred: December 2023

A voiceover artist in China filed a lawsuit alleging an AI-generated voice resembling her own was used in audiobooks without her consent.

The voiceover artist, Yin, is suing 5 companies, including the provider of the AI text-to-speech system and the company that had recorded her voice. The system in question uses generative artificial intelligence to recreate voices, allegedly with high precision.

This case is seen to venture into uncharted legal territory, where traditional copyright laws may not apply, thereby potentially setting a precedent for how individual likeness (e.g. “right to voice”) in the era of AI is perceived and protected..

Yin argues this represents a threat to her work and potential income, and adds to concerns raised by voice actors globally over the future of their profession.

Update (April 2024): The Beijing Internet Court ruled in favour of the voice actor recognising that the AI voice generator had infringed on their personality rights. The defendants in the case were ordered to cease activities and pay compensation to the voice actor. 

System 🤖



Country: China

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Generate audio

Technology: Text-to-speech; Deepfake - audio; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning

Issue: Personality rights, Workforce dislocation/replacement