Drake threatened with lawsuit over AI-generated Tupac Shakur voice

Occurred: April 2024

Canadian rapper Drake was threatened with a lawsuit by fellow rapper Tupac Shakur’s estate over a diss track that featured an AI-generated version of the late rapper’s voice

The track, titled “Taylor Made Freestyle”, was part of a back-and-forth war of words between Drake and Kendrick Lamar, in which Shakur could be heard criticising Tupac's legacy. 

In a cease-and-desist letter to Drake demanding that he pull down the track within 24 hours or face legal action, Tupac’s estate called this a “flagrant violation” of the law and a “blatant abuse” of Tupac’s legacy

It also argued that the song had caused “substantial economic and reputational harm” by creating the “false impression that the estate and Tupac promote or endorse the lyrics for the sound-alike.”

The offending track was later removed from Drake's @Champagnepapi Instagram account.

This incident highlighted the ease with which the voices of artists can be replicated using AI, thereby violating owners' copyright. In 2023, Unknown artist  Ghostwriter released a track called “Heart On My Sleeve” that featured fake verses from Drake’s voice. 

The incident also highlighted legal concerns about how best legislate voice cloning. Cloned vocals usually feature new words and music that are distinct from existing copyrighted songs.

System 🤖

Operator: Drake
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Damage reputation
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Copyright
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: April 2024