Innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) have made it easier than ever to replicate a person’s name, image, and likeness (NIL), particularly if that person is a celebrity. AI algorithms require massive amounts of “training data”— videos, images, and soundbites—to create “deepfake” renderings of persona in a way that feels real. The vast amount of training data available for celebrities and public figures make them easy targets. So, how can celebrities protect their NIL from unauthorized AI uses?
The Right of Publicity
The right of publicity is the primary tool for celebrity NIL protection. The right of publicity protects against unauthorized commercial exploitation of an individual’s persona, from appearance and voice to signature catchphrase. Past right of publicity cases provide some context for how this doctrine could be applied to AI-generated works.