It's JAY-Z versus the practice of deepfakery.
As spotted by the Verge on Tuesday, Andy Baio—a co-founder of the XOXO Festival—recently shared an enthralling long take in which it was noted that Roc Nation LLC had filed copyright strikes regarding the YouTube deepfake audio videos of an AI-crafted fake JAY-Z reciting Shakespeare and Billy Joel.
"Over the weekend, for the first time, the anonymous creator of Vocal Synthesis received a copyright claim on YouTube, taking two of his videos offline with deepfaked audio of JAY-Z reciting the 'To Be or Not To Be' soliloquy from Hamlet and Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire,'" Baio explained in his piece, which is definitely worth a proper reading. "According to the creator, the copyright claims were filed by Roc Nation LLC with an unusual reason for removal: 'This content unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client’s voice.'"
While the videos were indeed taken down, they've since been (temporarily) reinstated because—per comments a Google rep gave to Verge's Nick Statt—the DMCA takedown requests were found to be "incomplete."
Complex reached out to a rep for Roc Nation for comment.
In an anonymous chat with Baio, the creator of Vocal Synthesis said he was "pretty surprised" by the initial video takedowns. While he concedes that he's "not a lawyer" or an expert on intellectual property legalities, he doesn't understand how his practices would warrant such a response. Furthermore, the creator explained, the clear descriptions of his uploads as being the result of speed synthesis should make it clear his work is not intended to actually trick anyone into believing it's actually JAY-Z's voice.
At the time of this writing, the reinstated videos were still available for viewing: