Avatar Kiyoshi from Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra

Voice Actors Don’t Want You Using AI To Copy Their Voices

Yes, even for fanworks.

We’ve previously posted about concerns over AI, including using AI voices instead of voice actors in video games. Thankfully, more and more voice actors are making it clear where they stand on the matter.

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That includes Jennifer Hale, the voice of Avatar Kyoshi from Avatar the Last Airbender, who tweeted that she is against anyone who uses AI to emulate her voice. What’s most interesting is that this tweet may not be directed at professional TV and cartoon studios, but rather at fan-made content.

Specifically, it seems to call out one Tiktok account, Kyoshist, which has risen to prominence in the fandom over the past few months for its use of AI to emulate the voices of the Avatars as they make a running commentary on the events of The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra.

While some argue that parody and fan works like this are protected under copyright, I think using AI to emulate working voice actors is also unwise, especially now that Hale and many other voice actors are coming out against the practice. It’s a bit similar to the WGA’s concerns over studios using their writing to feed AI and possibly try to replace their work.

There are exceptions

Not everyone is against the practice, of course. James Earl Jones has handed over the voice of Darth Vader to an AI voice created by Disney and a Ukrainian startup; however, that move came with the understanding that he will be compensated for it.

I will note that AI could also pose some interesting legal questions about whether a voice actor’s voice can be copyrighted. If so, then it could make voice impressionists into copyright infringers, which could have major effects on voice acting and parody in entertainment as a whole.

But that’s a question to be answered by lawyers and not media journalists. In any case, it’s clear that we needed laws about AI ages ago, and now courts will have to play catch-up to properly protect the rights of actors and artists.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures / Nickelodeon)

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Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.