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The Necessity of Copyrighting Your Voice in 2024

AI Voice | Jun 3, 2024

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Exploring The Necessity of Copyrighting Your Voice in 2024

As artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to rapidly evolve, safeguarding personal and business assets has become increasingly important. One interesting question arising in 2024 is exploring how necessary it is to copyright one's voice.

What Does the Law Say?

Traditional Copyright Law

This falls back to traditional print copyright law: Copyright laws do not protect voices. When it comes to copyright protection, voices are not “fixed” in a tangible medium of expression.

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Rather, copyright law protects the words or sounds that might be produced by a voice, such as recorded songs or spoken performances but does not protect voices.

Right of Publicity

The right of publicity protects an individual's name, portrait, voice, and likeness for commercial purposes in many states and is the most likely legal structure that a celebrity or anyone who does not want their voice to be used commercially or without their permission.

Legal Precedent Cases

  • Bette Midler vs. Ford Motor Co. -> Midler won a suit against Ford for using a similar sounding voice of Midler in a commercial, which also established that unique voices fall under right of publicity​.
  • Tom Waits vs. Frit-o-lay -> Waits wins case against Frito-lay for their use of a voice-over that sounds like Waits in a commercial, solidifying further that unique voices are protectable and establishing precedent for punitive components​.

Why Protect Your Voice?

  • For Individuals -> A unique manner of speaking is a vital part of your identity. Impersonation with fraudulent use with AI generating voices and deepfakes, it is easier now to copy a voice. When you take action to protect your voice this can prevent others from digitally manipulating it without permission.
  • For work -> Businesses use different voices in branding, for example in ads and customer service. Safeguard them and keep the continuity of their unique voices, which is characteristic for sustaining and believing the brand. When hiring voice actors, companies must ensure that the voice performers are properly licensed, and that there is no breach of any law concerning the unauthorized use of the recorded material.

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  • Biometric voice protection in fintech -> In the fintech sector, voice protection means something very specific: many fintech companies use voice biometrics to authenticate their customers. It is essential for security and anti-fraud measures to be taken in order to protect these biometric data points. Securing all voice interactions (like through AI assistants) is essential to maintain customer trust and stay compliant with data privacy regulations.

Interesting Case - AI-Made Song with Drake and The Weeknd

As an example, a popular AI-generated song called “Heart on My Sleeve" included the artificial voices of Drake and The Weeknd. Universal Music Group filed copyright takedown request for the viral song made by AI on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Because of this, it highlights gaps in the law in terms of protecting artists against not being asked to lend their voices to AI-generated content​.

Conclusion

Though you cannot copyright your voice, there is range of legal protections through the right of publicity and contract. Any public-facing digital application may be used in this way, particularly those in the fintech sector, to guarantee protection of the voice for their identity, and to also protect the biometric data and maintain trust with their customers.

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With the continued evolution of technology and AI, we can expect the legal world at some point in the future to create additional protections for our voices and other personal identifiers as well.  Stay tuned...


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - The Necessity of Copyrighting Your Voice in 2024The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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