Company Behind Conan O’Brien AI Voice Clone Sued

A new lawsuit alleges that Scarlett Johansson isn’t the only celebrity being ripped off by AI voice cloning.

Two voice actors filed a  class action lawsuit last week against LOVO, Inc., the startup behind an AI generator named Genny that they claim stole their voices for its software. Beyond that alleged theft, the program also offers AI-generated soundalikes of celebrity voices, including that of O’Brien.

The lawsuit by voice actors Paul Skye Lehrman and Linnea Sage alleges they were misinformed about how voice samples they provided to LOVO through freelancing website Fiverr would be used. LOVO “fraudulently used their voices to teach the AI-driven software how to replicate human-sounding voices,” the law firm behind the suit, Pollock Cohen LLP, said in a press release.

The firm went on to claim that LOVO sold the two actors’ “cloned voices to thousands of customers for use in commercials, films, presentations, websites and many other projects – all without permission or compensation.”

While the class action suit is being led by Lehrman and Sage, Variety reports that “they are seeking to represent every actor whose voice was taken” — and that list could apparently include some A-list celebrities. LOVO offers users the ability to create AI-generated voices of public figures like former President Barack Obama, Elton John, and Conan O’Brien.

Screenshot from LOVO's website
Screenshot from LOVO’s website

Pollock Cohen LLP notes that “It is unknown at this time whether the lawful owners of those identities, brands and voices authorized LOVO to use their names, images or voices.” However, LOVO’s website refers to those voices by fake names—with the O’Brien-sounding voice named “Cocoon O’Brien”—alongside cartoon images seemingly designed to look like those celebs.

O’Brien is just the latest star to find themselves on the frontline of the AI voice cloning issue. Last week, Scarlett Johansson spoke out against OpenAI’s newest version of its ChatGPT chat bot, which seemed to mimic her voice. (Johansson voiced an AI virtual assistant named Samantha in the 2013 film Her. “Samantha OS” is also another voice offered by LOVO, alongside a Johansson-esque image.)

The Johansson story made its way into last weekend’s SNL season finale, when Johansson’s husband Colin Jost was forced to read a joke about it during a joke swap with Michael Che.

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