Celebs lock up their likeness

Did anyone have Tom Hanks filing a copyright for his AI avatar on their 2023 bingo card?

Driving the news: A new startup, Metaphysic, is launching a tool that will allow celebrities to build their “AI likeness” and register it with the US Copyright Office.

  • The company made its name publishing celebrity deepfakes, like these incredibly lifelike (but fake) Tom Cruise videos.
  • It’s now letting users upload their biometric data to “build a portfolio of their most valuable digital assets and AI training datasets over time” and settle intellectual property disputes.

Why it’s happening: Creators of all kinds want to protect their image from being exploited by AI. Actors, in particular, are growing concerned that they’ll lose control of their likeness—a major point of contention in the ongoing SAG strike

Why it matters: AI-powered tools that can make content using famous peoples' images and voices are only going to get better. Instead of trying to stop the technology altogether, some creators are instead trying to use it to their advantage. 

Yes, but: To say copyright law around AI is murky would be an understatement. Even if celebrities register their likeness using platforms like Metaphysic, it’s not clear that AI-generated art is subject to copyright protection.—LA