Scarlett Johansson is taking legal action against an AI app developer for using her name and likeness in an online advertisement without her consent. It comes as the fallout between AI and human creators continues to widen.
The latest action by Johansson adds to the increasing number of AI-related lawsuits, with many of the previous ones focused on copyrights of the content used to train the AI models to produce audio, videos, or pictures in the likeness of artists or authors.
Not taking cloning lightly
The star was featured in a 22-second ad that was spotted on Oct. 28 by her team. The ad, in which she promotes the app and has already deleted it, was posted on the X platform by an AI image-creating app called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar.
According to a Variety report, Johansson’s representatives denied any relationship between the star and the app. Kevin Yorn, her attorney, handled the case in a legal capacity.
“We do not take these things lightly. Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all the legal remedies we have,” Yorn told Variety.
In the ad, which was reviewed by Variety, it opens with a clip of the star behind the scenes of “Black Widow.”
The star says, “What’s up guys? I am Scarlett, and I want you to come with me.”
A graphic then covers her mouth before the scene transitions into a slideshow of AI-generated images resembling her, followed by a fake voice of the star promoting the app.
“It’s not limited to avatars only. You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it,” said the voice that sounds like the movie star.
It has nothing to do with her
According to the Variety report, the makers of Lisa App-Covert Software added a disclaimer to the ad: “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person.”
It is not known how long the ad was on the platform before it was flagged and removed completely. But the app is still available on the App Store and Google Play Store.
It allows users to upload their images and turn them into avatars, according to Tom’s Guide.
However, the flurry of such AI applications that allow people to generate audio, video, and visual content has come at a price and is under criticism for infringing on privacy and copyright issues.
Legal expert Omar Ochoa, who is the founder of the Omar Ochoa law firm, said courts were likely to favor the established rights of Johansson.
“In this case, the AI app definitely was clearly attempting to replicate her likeness, and it should not be difficult for Johansson to prove they engaged in the unauthorized commercial use of her likeness since this was an advertisement intended to gain customers or users,” he told Tom’s Guide.
This also comes as California has strict rules about the right to privacy, especially the unauthorized use of a voice, name, photograph, or likeness for advertising.
Johansson is not the first artist to have friction with AI replicating their likeness without consent. In September, another movie star, Tom Hanks, appeared on social media, warning his fans about a dental ad that featured an AI version of himself.
The ad was produced without his consent, forcing the two-time Academy Award-winning actor to post on his Instagram handle.
“Beware!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plans with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it,” he wrote.
In another case, comedian Sarah Silverman also filed against ChatGPT maker OpenAI as well as Meta for copyright infringement, claiming the companies used their work to train their AI models without the artist’s consent.
Actor Tom Cruise also voiced his concerns about potential AI threats during the SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations with Hollywood studios before the union went on strike over, among other issues, the use of AI in the film industry, especially regarding replicating artists’ likeness.