The George Carlin estate filed a copyright lawsuit for AI-generated comedy

The George Carlin estate filed a copyright lawsuit for AI-generated comedy

George Carlin’s family estate has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Dudsey– a media company that used generative AI to make a parody comedy spectacular that mimics the late star’s voice and lighthearted demeanor for an hour. Dudsey gained notice in April 2023 for its AI mimic of Tom Brady, who threatened a suit, but it was removed from Dudsey’s channel.  The Carlin family suit was filed in federal court. The suit claims that Carlin’s likeness and copyrighted materials were utilized without permission or required permissions. The lawsuit describes the presentation as a “computer-generated click-bait which harms Carlin’s reputation and detracts from the value of his comedic works.” Further, the case wants “immediate removal and destruction of all faked copies.”

In “I’m Glad I’m Dead,” George Carlin appears as himself in an AI-generated special posted to the Dudesy podcast’s YouTube channel on January 9. It is still available there and has had nearly 500,000 views. A few days after the special’s broadcast, presenters of the Dudesy podcast Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen—who are also included in the complaint — reacted to criticism by calling AI “the next paintbrush” and a “new tool that’s going to be utilized in every facet of life.”

Carlin’s daughter gave a statement that claims that “…no machine will ever replace his genius,” which, though true will likely not stop generative AI proponents from trying again.

In October 2023, a “No Fakes Act” was proposed by US senators to seek to introduce laws to stop performers from having their images or self from being digitally reproduced without permission. It appears that generative AI has all the capabilities to replicate almost anyone digitally.

Some have commented that George Carlin himself pushed every convention of his time. If you don’t believe it, look up and watch his 1972 show (it’s on YouTube), “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” Were Carlin here today — as an intense genius and free-thinker, it has been postulated that he may have used generative AI himself.

You can watch an HBO special, George Carlin’s American Dream, where Carlon is in 14 HBO comedy specials and 130 The Tonight Show — and he impersonates many people.

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Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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