Scarlett Johansson hits AI app with legal action for cloning her voice in an ad

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By Aprilia Reen

An image of Scarlett Johansson at God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards

Scarlett Johansson is taking legal action against an AI app developer for using her name and likeness in an online ad, according to a report from Variety. The ad was for an AI image editor, called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, and featured an AI-generated version of Johansson’s voice.

As reported by Variety, the 22-second ad showed Johansson behind the scenes while filming Black Widow, where she actually says “What’s up guys? It’s Scarlett and I want you to come with me.” But then, the ad transitions away from Johansson, while an AI-generated voice meant to sound like the actress states: “It’s not limited to avatars only. You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it.”

At the very bottom of the ad, Variety reports that Convert Software — the developer behind the app — included text that reads: “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person.” Representatives for Johansson tell Variety that the actress was never a spokesperson for the app and that her attorney, Kevin Yorn, “handled the situation in a legal capacity.”

“We do not take these things lightly. Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all legal remedies that we will have,” Yorn said in a statement to Variety. Neither Yorn nor Convert Software responded to The Verge’s request for comment about the nature of the legal action.

As AI becomes even more easily accessible, we’re bound to see cases similar to this in the future. Musicians are already contending with voice-cloning that can make it seem like Drake is dropping a new single or Johnny Cash is covering Taylor Swift, while deepfake technology is making it possible for Tom Hanks’ AI-generated likeness to appear in an ad for a dental plan without his consent.

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