George Carlin’s estate settles lawsuit against podcasters’ AI comedy special

George Carlin’s AI-generated comedy special, broadcast by the Dudesy podcast, won’t be getting a sequel. Carlin’s estate in January sued against the podcast and its creators, Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen, accusing them of violating the artist’s right of publicity and copyright infringement. Now, the two sides have reached a settlement that includes permanently removing the comedy special from Dude’s archives. Sasso and Kultgen also agreed to never air it on any platform, nor to use Carlin’s image, voice or likeness again without permission from the estate. The New York Times.

The artificial intelligence algorithm Dudesi uses for the special has been trained on thousands of hours of Carly’s routines spanning decades of her career. He created enough material for an hour-long special, but he did a pretty poor impression of the late comedian, with basic punchlines and little else that characterized Carlin’s humor. In a statement, Carly’s daughter Kelly called it a “poorly executed facsimile put together by unscrupulous individuals.”

Josh Schiller, who is representing Carl’s estate in court, told The Times, “[t]it has begun to appreciate the power and potential dangers inherent in artificial intelligence tools that can mimic world sounds, create fake photos, and alter video. They face swift, strong action in the courts.” Companies that make AI software also “must bear some responsibility,” the lawyer said.

This lawsuit is just one of many lawsuits filed by creatives against AI companies and people who use the technology to train algorithms in someone’s work. Some non-fiction authors and novelists including George RR Martin, John Grisham, and Jodi Picoult have sued OpenAI for using their work to develop extensive language models. The New York Times and several other news organizations sued the company for allegedly using their articles for training purposes reproduction their content verbatim without attribution.

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