SPB’s voice recreated through AI, family serves legal notice | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SPB’s voice recreated through AI, family serves legal notice

Feb 17, 2024 12:33 AM IST

His son said if this trend of using Al for commercial exploitation continues without permission, it might even affect present and future singers

Chennai: Late S P Balasubrahmanyam’s (SPB) family has issued a legal notice to producers and the music director of Telugu film Keedaa Cola for recreating the legendary playback singer’s voice through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deepfake technology without their permission.

S P Balasubrahmanyam’s son aid that though their family supported technology being used to give the late singer’s voice a posthumous life, they felt disheartened that it was done without the knowledge and consent of the family for commercial purposes. (HT Archives)
S P Balasubrahmanyam’s son aid that though their family supported technology being used to give the late singer’s voice a posthumous life, they felt disheartened that it was done without the knowledge and consent of the family for commercial purposes. (HT Archives)

The notice was sent by SPB’s son S P Kalyan Charan. He said that though their family supported technology being used to give the late singer’s voice a posthumous life, they felt disheartened that it was done without the knowledge and consent of the family for commercial purposes.

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“I think there is a legit way to do that,” Charan said. “Any technology should benefit humanity and not take away livelihoods. In this case I felt good that it’s a great opportunity to go to the families and they also see the legacy of the singers continue.”

Charan said he sent a legal notice to the producers and music director of the film on January 18, 2024 seeking an apology, damages, and share in royalty, besides inviting them for a one-to-one meeting so as to arrive at an amicable solution.

“But we were totally appalled at the tenor of the response which not only dismissed the already admitted fact of using Late S P Balasubrahmanyam’s voice through Al technology, but also deceitfully suggested a media trial as opposed to a legal approach,” Charan said. “We abstain from choosing any devious methods to handle this matter and have no desire to precipitate this issue through media trial and solely propose to take this issue legally.”

The development comes amidst a debate on whether it is ethical to use the voices of late singers using technology. Recently Oscar winning music director A R Rahman used the voice of two late singers with due permission.

Charan added that if this trend of using Al technology for commercial exploitation in the entertainment industry continues without valid consent or permission, it might even affect present and future singers.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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