Actor Rajnikanth, whose immense popularity has led to people using his actions, scenes, dialogues in advertainments to social media reels. His voice and image have a fanbase of their own and have been widely mimicked for years. However, in the wake of AI-generated images and videos being used to create deepfake videos of celebrities, Rajnikanth has issued a legal notice against the commercial use of his image, voice, name, or any distinctive elements, which will no longer be possible without consent.
Since artificial intelligence has blown up on social media, we have seen digitally altered images and videos of Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Gal Gadot, and other celebrities. The likelihood is so real that people have raised ethical concerns.
With AI making it easy to create our own version of celebrities, and put them in places and situations as we please, it’s important to consider exploitation of their image to increase their accessibility.
The legal notice by actor Rajnikanth states that several mediums, and product manufacturers were misappropriating his name, image, voice, caricature image, artistic image, and AI-generated images “for gaining popularity and entice the public to purchase their products”.
In 2022, Amitabh Bachchan issued a legal notice to restrict unauthorised use of his image, voice, and personality, ANI reported. “The intent of this is not to take away anything from anyone, it is that, come to Mr Bachchan. It should be with his consent and I think it owes to every individual that what you do, must come with your consent,” said Ameet Naik, who was part of the veteran actor’s team.
According to ANI, the notice Rajnikanth’s image, name, and unique photographs are distinctive to him and unauthorised use of these on digital and physical platforms is likely to create confusion and deception in the public’s minds.
"In the above-said circumstances, notice is hereby given that if anyone is infringing our client's personality/publicity/celebrity rights, including all facets of our client's personality, our client will take all proceedings including civil and criminal in accordance with the law as against the persons infringing our client's rights," the notice stated.
This highlights that with AI taking over digital spaces, there has been a renewed focus on its ethical use to curb exploitation of people’s privacy.