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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Amazon’s Highway Home reboot is accused of copyright infringement — and AI voice cloning

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The screenwriter of the 1989 motion movie Highway Home is suing MGM Studios and its proprietor Amazon Studios, accusing them of copyright infringement over the upcoming Highway Home remake, report the Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday within the U.S. Central District Courtroom in Los Angeles, additionally alleges that Amazon Studios resorted to generative AI to clone actor’s voices with the intention to end the Highway Home remake throughout last year’s Hollywood strikes, which largely shut down movie manufacturing.

Within the criticism, screenwriter R. Lance Hill reportedly states that he filed a petition with the US Copyright Workplace in November 2021 to reclaim the rights for the screenplay (which each the unique Highway Home and Amazon Studios reboot relies on). At that time, Amazon would have owned the rights to Highway Home because of the tech big’s acquisition of MGM’s film library, however the tech big’s declare on the work was set to run out in November 2023.

However in response to THR, Hill’s authentic cope with United Artists (which secured the rights to the 1986 screenplay earlier than being later acquired by MGM Studios) is outlined as a “work-made-for-hire”. The time period, in response to the US Copyright Workplace, signifies that occasion that employed a person to create work is each the owner and copyright holder of that work.

Hill alleges that the work-for-hire clause was merely boilerplate, and that Amazon ignored his copyright claims and rushed manufacturing of the remake, even taking “excessive measures” comparable to utilizing generative AI. The lawsuit is searching for a court docket order to dam the discharge of the movie, which is scheduled to premiere on the opening night time of SXSW on March eighth and stream on Prime Video on March twenty first. 

Amazon MGM Studios categorically denied utilizing AI to interchange or recreate actors’ voices in statements to The Verge, with spokesperson Jenna Klein telling us that “the studio expressly instructed the filmmakers to NOT use AI on this film.”

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“If at any time AI was utilized, it might have been by the filmmakers (whereas enhancing early cuts of the movie)”

“If at any time AI was utilized, it might have been by the filmmakers (whereas enhancing early cuts of the movie) and never the studio as they managed the editorial,” Klein wrote, including that filmmakers had been instructed to take away any “AI or non-SAG AFTRA actors” when ending the movie.

Amazon additionally stated that “quite a few allegations” within the lawsuit are “categorically false,” and that the corporate doesn’t imagine its copyright has successfully expired on Highway Home.

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