The Legal Battle Over AI Voice Cloning: Voice Actors Fight Back

The Legal Battle Over AI Voice Cloning: Voice Actors Fight Back
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

By Nyasha Green, IWAI Insights Contributor

Imagine hearing your own voice in a podcast, discussing the dangers of AI – and then realizing that voice isn’t yours.

This is the shocking reality that voice actors Paul Skye Lehrman and Linnea Sage faced. Their voices had been cloned by an AI company without their permission, leading to a legal battle against the startup company Lovo. This case sheds light on the increasing concerns among creators about the unauthorized use of their work by AI technologies. The actors' lawsuit against Lovo is yet another battle in the fight for creative rights in AI.

Everything started when Lehrman and Sage heard a podcast featuring a chatbot named Poe. To their disbelief, Poe's voice was identical to Lehrman's. The couple, who earn their living as voice actors, were stunned to hear Lehrman's voice ironically discussing the very dangers AI posed to their industry. In their lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, Lehrman and Sage claim that Lovo used recordings of their voices, obtained through anonymous payments on Fiverr, to create voice clones without proper disclosure or consent. The actors accuse Lovo of fraud, false advertising, and violating their publicity rights. They are seeking damages of at least $5 million and class-action status to include other affected voice actors. This lawsuit is part of a broader trend where creators are suing AI companies for unauthorized use of their work.