JAY-Z’s record label Roc Nation has taken legal action against deepfake videos of him rapping Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire, which is… really something.
Unlike most deepfake lawsuits, which usually involve some sort of pornographic or offensive material, the Jay-Z copyright strikes come from what looks to be a little harmless internet entertainment.
According to The Verge, Roc Nation has issued copyright strikes to shut down the YouTube uploads of both the Hamlet and We Didn’t Start The Fire deepfake raps on the Vocal Synthesis YouTube channel.
“This content unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client’s voice,” Roc Nation wrote, according to Andy Baio’s conversations with the anonymous AI creator.
Basically, Vocal Synthesis uses a “text-to-speech model trained on the speech patterns of Jay-Z” to develop a computer-generated vocal cover. In addition to the JAY-Z videos, Vocal Synthesis has also used the technology on the likes of former President Barack Obama, comedian Bill Burr, Bob Dylan and painter Bob Ross.
Although the Shakespeare and Billy Joel covers have been removed from YouTube for copyright reasons, other deepfakes of JAY-Z remain live on the Vocal Synthesis channel, including one of him apparently rapping the biblical book of Genesis.
Unfortunately, most of the Jay-Z raps have been taken down for copyright reasons, but you can still enjoy truly wild videos like George W. Bush reading In Da Club by 50 Cent on the Vocal Synthesis YouTube channel here.