Scarlett Johansson-OpenAI Feud Rekindles Hollywood Fear of Artificial Intelligence


OpenAI's apparent homage to the movie “Her” with the likeness of Scarlett Johansson's voice is fueling a backlash against artificial intelligence in Hollywood, executives told Reuters.

Johansson's accusation that the ChatGPT creator copied her performance in the Spike Jonze-directed feature film, after failing to reach a deal, reignited the creative class' anxiety about the existential threat posed by AI, until and all while Hollywood studios are testing new tools and exploring alliances with OpenAI.

“This seemed to strike a real chord,” said one industry executive. “This puts a human face on it… There's a well-known tech company that did something to a person we know.”

OpenAI surprised the world in February with feature-length videos generated by its text-to-video tool, Sora. Since then, Hollywood executives and agents have met with the company several times to discuss potential creative partnerships and applications for the technology, according to industry executives and agents.

OpenAI's Johansson's blast for using a sultry voice he called “eerily similar” to his performance in his public demos of the latest version of ChatGPT is antagonizing some entertainment executives, amid discussions to work more closely into projects, people with direct knowledge told Reuters.

“It certainly doesn't establish a respectful collaboration between content creators and tech giants,” said one studio executive, who called OpenAI's actions “hubris.”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said in a statement Monday that the voice “is not Scarlett Johansson's, and was never intended to sound like her. We put the voice actor behind the Sky's voice before any communication with Ms Johansson.”

The company, whose biggest investor is Microsoft, did not respond to requests for comment about its relationship with Hollywood after the dispute.

Even before the latest conflict, agents and executives who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity have said for weeks that they have been concerned that OpenAI's models appear to have been trained on copyrighted works, which the tech company considered fair use because they are publicly available. on the internet This is seen as a major obstacle by some professional directors and filmmakers, who may be reluctant to use a tool built, without consent, from other people's work.

But technologists in the entertainment industry see Sora as a promising potential tool to augment the process of making movies and television. They see short-term applications of the technology to speed up the pace of digital effects.

Fox already uses OpenAI's ChatGPT to recommend new TV shows and movies to viewers of its Tubi streaming service.

While OpenAI has said it aims to protect copyright, blocking the ability to generate videos featuring well-known characters like Superman or high-profile actors like Jennifer Aniston, there are still concerns about how it will protect lesser-known performers.

lost voice

Johansson's conflict with OpenAI opens a new front in the battle between the content industry and the AI ​​leader. Johansson has grounds to argue that OpenAI violated his right of publicity, which gives a person the right to control the commercial use of his name, image or likeness, according to John Yanchunis, a partner at the law firm Morgan & Morgan.

Singer Bette Midler used the California law to claim her own voice in a case that legal experts point to as a precedent. He successfully sued Ford's advertising agency, Young & Rubicam, for hiring a former backup singer to imitate his rendition of “Do You Want to Dance?” in a car commercial after she turned down an offer to perform the song. The case, filed in 1987, went to the Supreme Court, which upheld his right of publicity. Tom Waits won a similar lawsuit in 1988 against Frito-Lay over a commercial featuring a performance that mimicked Waits' gravelly singing style.

“In both cases, the sound-alikes were performing songs that the singers had made famous, so people likely assumed that the artists were the ones singing and had endorsed the products,” said Mark Lemley, director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology.

Johansson's case is less clear-cut than previous cases, though the effort to imitate Johansson's voice from “Her,” along with Altman's repeated efforts to hire her and a tweet from him referencing in the film, they make “a pretty strong case for Johansson,” Lemley said.

Jeffrey Bennett, general counsel for the performers union SAG-AFTRA, which was instrumental in establishing the right of publicity in California and elsewhere in the country, has been pushing for a federal right of speech and likeness similar to federal rights protections of author

“We're delighted that there's now this great dialogue about it,” Bennett said. “For a long time we've been trying to use the mega and call it out… We've been talking about the proliferation of 'deep fakes' and now it's going to start affecting everybody. Now, it's really a conversation. There has to be a federal solution “.

© Thomson Reuters 2024

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