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Voiceover actor Paul Skye Lehrman had a shocking experience when he stumbled upon a YouTube video in 2022, only to discover that his own voice was being used without his knowledge or consent. The video, posted by a channel called Military News, discussed Russia’s advance into Ukraine, with Lehrman’s voice narrating the conflict and discussing weapons. However, Lehrman asserts that these are words he never said.

This wasn’t an isolated incident for Lehrman. A year later, he heard his voice again, this time in a podcast about Hollywood’s dual strikes. The podcast was discussing the dangers of generative artificial intelligence text-to-speech tools, and Lehrman believes that his voice was once again misappropriated.

Disturbed by these incidents, Lehrman and his wife, Linnea Sage, who is also a voiceover actor and suspects that her voice has been stolen in a similar manner, decided to take legal action. They filed a proposed class action against AI startup LOVO in a New York federal court. The lawsuit not only accuses LOVO of misappropriating their voices but also alleges that the company has done the same with the voices of A-list celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Ariana Grande, and Conan O’Brien.

This lawsuit marks a significant legal challenge in the AI industry, as it is the first of its kind to target an AI firm over the use of likenesses without permission. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for the future of voiceover actors and the protection of their intellectual property rights.