Scarlett Johansson takes legal action against use of image for AI

Scarlett Johansson has taken legal action against an AI app that used her name and likeness in an AI-generated advertisement without her permission.

The 22-second ad, posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, by an image generating app called Lisa AI: 90’s Yearbook & Avatar, used real footage of Johansson to generate a fake image and dialogue for her.

Representatives for the 38-year-old actor confirmed to Variety that she is not a spokesperson for the company and that appropriate legal actions were taken since it was spotted on 28 October. “We do not take these things lightly. Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all legal remedies that we will have,” her lawyer, Kevin Yorn told Variety. The ad has since been taken down.

The video, reviewed by Variety, opened with a behind the scenes clip of Johansson from the set of the Marvel film Black Widow. “What’s up guys? It’s Scarlett and I want you to come with me … ” she says, before the screen transitions into AI-generated photos that resemble her. A voice imitating the actor continues speaking to promote the app: “It’s not limited to avatars only. You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it,” the fake narration says.

The fine print under the advertisement says: “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person.” Multiple apps by Lisa AI remain on the App Store and Google Play.

Johansson is not the only actor to speak out publicly against the use of their name and likenesses for AI. Last month, Tom Hanks took to Instagram to warn fans about a dental plan that used an AI-generated image of him for their promotional video. “Beware! … I have nothing to do with it,” he wrote on his Instagram story.

And a number of authors, including the comedian Sarah Silverman, have sued the ChatGPT developed by OpenAI and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, for copyright infringement over claims that their artificial intelligence models were trained on their work without their consent.

It’s also not the first time Johansson has experienced her image used without her consent. In 2018, the actor spoke to the Washington Post about the use of her image in computer-generated “deepfakes” in which women’s faces are artificially added to pornographic videos. “Nothing can stop someone from cutting and pasting my image or anyone else’s onto a different body and making it look as eerily realistic as desired,” she said. “There are basically no rules on the internet because it is an abyss that remains virtually lawless, withstanding US policies which, again, only apply here.”

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