YouTubers sued over AI-generated Carlin comedy special

Wikimedia Image: Tony Fischer

Jerold Hamza. Hamza filed a lawsuit against a podcast and YouTube video that infringes on the copyrights to Carlin’s albums and stand-up specials by using artificial intelligence to produce a spoof version of the comedian’s comedy spectacular.

Carlin, who suffered from cardiac problems for several years before passing away in 2008, had all of his intellectual property controlled by George Carlin’s longtime manager, Jerold Hamza.

According to Hamza, the defendants admitted to utilizing “thousands of hours” of Carlin’s comic routines protected by copyright to produce the spectacular AI comedy. Utilizing Carlin’s original copyrighted work, he claims Sasso and Kultgen sought to “resurrect” Carlin by using it to construct an AI-generated script that would “fabricate a semblance of Carlin’s voice and generate a Carlin stand-up comedy routine.”

The lawsuit (Case No. 2:24-cv-00711) states that  Plaintiffs Main Sequence, Ltd., Jerold Hamza as executor for the Estate of George Carlin, and Jerold Hamza in his capacity (together, “Plaintiffs”, “George Carlin” or “Carlin”), by and through their undersigned attorneys, bring this suit against Defendants Dudesy, LLC, Will Sasso, Chad Kultgen, and John Does 1-20 (collectively “Defendants”), and allege upon personal knowledge as to acts and events taking place in their presence, and upon information and belief for all other acts as follows:

More than 16 years later, Defendants took it upon themselves to “resurrect” Carlin with the aid of artificial intelligence (“AI”). Using Carlin’s original copyrighted works, Dudesy LLC (along with some combination of Will Sasso, Chad Kultgen, and the John Doe defendants) created a script for the comedian’s copyrighted materials.

The lawsuit complaint alleges that the Plaintiffs, therefore, bring this action for copyright infringement and violation of Carlin’s right of publicity caused by Defendants’ unauthorized use of Carlin’s works to create their AI-generated “George Carlin Special”—an hour-long fake comedy show that purports to be in George Carlin’s voice and reflect how Carlin would have commented on current events since he died in 2008. Defendants’ AI-generated “George Carlin Special” is not a creative work.

It is a computer-generated clickbait that 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.

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