Roc Nation Files Takedown Notices To Remove Jay-Z Deepfake Videos From YouTube

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…
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The creators use artificial intelligence to simulate Jay’s voice.

Over the last few days, video simulations of Jay-Z’s voice made the rounds on social media. In one instance, a program uses his voice to recreate the “To Be, Or Not to Be” soliloquy from Hamlet and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

On Tuesday, The Verge reported Roc Nation has filed copyright strikes against the hosting YouTube channels.

“This content unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client’s voice,” the notice said. After initially removing the videos, YouTube has reinstated them, citing “insufficient grounds from the claimant.” YouTube user Voice Synthesis originally posted the videos using Google’s Tacotron 2 text-to-speech software.

These videos, known as deepfakes, have been the subject of controversy for quite some time. In October 2019, the state of California banned altered videos from influencing elections. The legislation made it illegal to distribute audio or videos giving a false impression of a politician’s words or actions. News media is exempt from the law, as are users creating satire and parodies.

At the time, the law raised concerns about free speech. The ACLU even got involved, questioning the value of the law. “Despite the author’s good intentions,” the organization said in a statement, “this bill will not solve the problem of deceptive political videos. It will only result in voter confusion, malicious litigation, and repression of free speech.”

Stay tuned for further updates.


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