The creators of an AI generated George Carlin comedy special have been unsurprisingly sued by the late comedian’s estate.
Generated by Dudsey, the hour-long comedy special that virtually resurrected the late great Carlin was released online. Using the comedian’s face, voice and style, the comedy special has been described as a “bastardization” of the real Carlin’s work.
Carlin was a beloved comedian before his passing in 2008. Dying of congestive heart failure, the witty wordsmith was immediately tributed by generations of fans, friends and colleagues.
Filed this Thursday, Carlin’s estate argues that the AI comedy special “detracts from the value of Carlin’s comedic works and harms his reputation.”
Titled George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead, the AI special, the special was described as “a bastardization of Carlin’s real work and his legacy.”
“George Carlin, if he were alive today, may well have commented upon the topics discussed in the Dudesy Special,” the lawsuit reads. “But he would have had control over what those comments were.”
In a statement, George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, said: “My dad spent a lifetime perfecting his craft from his very human life, brain and imagination. No machine will ever replace his genius. These AI-generated products are clever attempts at trying to recreate a mind that will never exist again. Let’s let the artist’s work speak for itself.”
The fight against AI generated content without consent has spread far as tools become more powerful over time. In fact, last year, acting union SAG-AFTRA specifically fought against studios from creating AI doubles of actors for movies. Unfortunately, those rules don’t apply to non-union studios.
While the comedy special could be argued to be a parody or satire of Carlin, it’s specific training on the real actor’s voice, face and writing style may not only just be morally wrong, but in violation of copyright.
AI deepfakes have proven so controversial that they’ve been used as political weapons in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The technology is so problematic that it’s been banned from Google research groups such as Google Collab.