Copyright infringement is not a laughing matter in today’s all new Facepalm.
For those fortunate enough to remember the legendary comedian George Carlin, who died in 2008, you probably recall he didn’t suffer much b.s. He once noted, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” Well, Dudesy podcasters and former comedians Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen thought they were real smart when they debuted an hourlong special entitled George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead. The pair utilized their “Dudesy AI” chatbot, which they fed comedy routines from Carlin’s five decade standup career, to spit out a brand new George Carlin-esque special. Carlin’s estate filed suit against the special for unauthorized used of copyrighted material and use of Carlin’s voice and likeness in promotion in promotion of this “resurrection.” In the special, an AI-generated Carlin narrates commentary over images in his signature style and cadence. Anticipating a First Amendment objection, and issuing a sick burn, Carlin’s estate says the special “has no comedic or creative value absent its self-proclaimed connection with George Carlin” and is therefore not protected free speech.
The ersatz-Carlin case is one more in a slew of entertainers suing over AI’s appropriation of their creative work. Comedian Sarah Silverman recently jumped into the fray, claiming the use of her memoir, The Bedwetter, and hundreds of thousands of other books, to train Meta AI was tantamount to creating one big gigantic derivative work. Unfortunately for Silverman, a federal judge recently dismissed most of her claims, calling them “nonsensical.” I guess she really wet the bed on that one.
While I wish Silverman luck with her legal fight against the big bad black box that is AI chat, I defer to George Carlin’s wisdom: “Not only do I not know what’s going on, I wouldn’t know what to do about it if I did.”