In Reuters Legal, Matt Pham and Baraa Kahf Examine Implications of AI-Generated Voice Usage

| Matthew PhamBaraa Kahf

In the Reuters Legal article “Drake and the Emergence of AI in Creative Expression,” associate Matt Pham and partner Baraa Kahf analyze the legal questions raised by rapper Drake’s use of AI-generated voices of rappers Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg in Drake’s recently-released song “Taylor Made Freestyle.”

To provide context for the potential legal implications of the rapper’s use of AI, Pham and Kahf examine past examples of legal disputes over “voice soundalikes” and rights of publicity, including high-profile cases featuring Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra, and Bette Midler. The latter case, the authors explain, asserted “the deep personal significance of one's voice that justified recognizing a right against its misappropriation.”

“The Midler holding may apply to the use of AI soundalikes,” maintain Pham and Kahf. “But for entertainment works like ‘Taylor Made Freestyle,’ such a holding may conflict with First Amendment protections for creative expression.” The authors continue, “‘Taylor Made Freestyle’ clearly exploits the likeness of Tupac and Snoop Dogg. Whether it ‘contributes anything of substantial value to society’ is an open question.”

In conclusion, Pham and Kahf write, “At a minimum, ‘Taylor Made Freestyle’ asks listeners if artforms are better off embracing new technologies instead of setting boundaries on them. After all, how valuable would an artform be, especially from its most renowned participants, if it did not challenge these boundaries?”

Read the article here.