In Brief:  Creating a deep fake of George Carlin wasn’t funny.

Here’s What Happened:  

Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen host a podcast called “Dudsey”. Among other things, Dudsey, has created deep fakes of celebrities and creates hour long podcasts featuring them. A year ago, Tom Brady threatened to sue the show after they published an hour-long fake Brady comedy special. Nothing came of it. But then Dudsey met its match.

George Carlin was a well-beloved comedian and commentator. Some of his famous routines were the “Hippy Dippy Weatherman”, “The Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television” and “Baseball v. Football”. Dudesy created an hour long deep fake of George Carlin supposedly using material written by Chad called “I’m Glad I’m Dead”. Will and Chad say that they didn’t use artificial intelligence to create the pseudo-George Carlin but some are skeptical.

It’s all fun, right? Except Mr. Carlin’s estate was not amused.

The Carlin Estate sued Kultgen and Sasso. The complaint alleged that Will and Chad’s “AI-generated 'George Carlin Special' is not a creative work . . . It is a piece of computer-generated click-bait which detracts from the value of Carlin’s comedic works and harms his reputation. It is a casual theft of a great American artist’s work."

We will not see a final decision in this case because the parties settled the case. Will and Chad agreed to permanently remove “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead” from the internet and stop using Carlin’s image, voice or likeness without permission. No other terms of the settlement were disclosed.

Why You Should Know This: The lawsuit was among the first in the entertainment world related to “deepfakes,” or convincing digital imitations of real people made possible by fast-evolving AI technology. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Case Information: Estate of Carlin v. Sasso, (cite unavailable).

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