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George Carlin's estate sues podcasters over AI-generated comedy special
Comedian George Carlin (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

George Carlin's estate sues podcasters over AI-generated comedy special

George Carlin's estate recently filed a lawsuit against the podcast "Dudesy" over an artificial intelligence-generated stand-up comedy special featuring the likeness of the late comedian.

Since the lawsuit was filed, the special "George Carlin: I'm Glad I'm Dead" has been removed from YouTube. The complaint claimed that "Dudesy's" introductory voiceover states the special was generated by AI that ingested "five decades of Carlin's original stand-up comedy routines."

"Defendants therefore admitted that they input thousands of hours of George Carlin's original, copyrighted routines to an AI machine that Defendants operate to fabricate a semblance of Carlin's voice and generate a Carlin stand-up comedy routine," the lawsuit read.

According to the complaint, the video opened by stating, "I listened to all of George Carlin's material and did my best to imitate his voice, cadence, and attitude, as well as the subject matter I think would have interested him today."

The estate argued that the special is "harmful to Carlin's reputation, his legacy, and to the value of his real work." The lawsuit called the AI-generated comedy routine "a bastardization of Carlin's real work and his legacy."

The suit was also filed against comedian Will Sasso and podcaster Chad Kultgen.

Danielle Del, a spokesperson for Sasso, told the New York Times that humans, not AI, wrote the comedy routine.

"It's a fictional podcast character created by two human beings, Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen," Del said. "The YouTube video 'I'm Glad I'm Dead' was completely written by Chad Kultgen."

Josh Schiller, a lawyer for Carlin's estate, told the Times that he is unsure what is true.

"What we will know is that they will be deposed. They will produce documents, and there will be evidence that shows one way or another how the show was created," Schiller stated.

Carlin's daughter, Kelly Carlin, called the special "a poorly executed facsimile cobbled together by unscrupulous individuals to capitalize on the extraordinary goodwill my father established with his adoring fan base," the Associated Press reported.

In a series of posts on X, Kelly Carlin wrote, "My dad spent a lifetime perfecting his craft from his very human life, brain and imagination. No machine will ever replace his genius. These AI generated products are clever attempts at trying to recreate a mind that will never exist again. Let's let the artist's work speak for itself. Humans are so afraid of the void that we can't let what has fallen into it stay there."

"Here's an idea, how about we give some actual living human comedians a listen to? But if you want to listen to the genuine George Carlin, he has 14 specials that you can find anywhere," she added.

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