Scarlett Johansson Takes Legal Action Against AI App for Unauthorized Likeness Use

Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson is gearing up for a legal battle against an AI-powered application that allegedly used her likeness without permission. The A-list actress, known for her roles in popular films like “Lost in Translation” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has filed a lawsuit against the app’s creators, raising concerns about the unauthorized use of her image.

What exactly happened?

The AI app in question, Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, used Johansson’s face and voice in an advertisement. The 22-second clip first appeared on X on Saturday and used a behind-the-scenes clip from her film “Black Widow”. 

“What’s up, guys? It’s Scarlett, and I want you to come with me,” the “Avengers” star says before the clip transitions to a group of AI-generated pictures that resemble the star. “It’s not limited to avatars only,” a voiceover similar to Johansson continues. “You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it.”

The advertisement also features a disclaimer that states that the ad features “images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person.” 

Johansson’s reps have claimed that her image has been used in this manner without her consent and have confirmed Johansson is not a spokesperson for the app, raising serious ethical and legal questions about the boundaries of AI technology and the rights of public figures. In a statement, Johansson’s attorney, Kevin Yorn, said, “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.

Experts in intellectual property law are closely watching this case, as it could set a precedent in the legal landscape concerning AI and celebrity rights. Traditionally, celebrities have had some degree of control over their likeness, allowing them to protect their image from unauthorized commercial use. However, the emergence of AI technology complicates matters, blurring the lines between creative expression and potential infringements.

The app’s developers have yet to respond to the lawsuit, and their stance remains unknown. They may argue that their AI app falls under the umbrella of artistic expression or transformative work, which could be protected under the First Amendment. However, whether such protections extend to the commercial use of an AI app remains to be determined by the court.

AI: Boon or Bane?

Scarlett Johansson’s case highlights the broader issues surrounding AI and privacy rights. As AI technology advances, the potential for misuse and infringement of individual rights is a growing concern. This lawsuit raises questions about how public figures can protect their image in the digital age and what legal frameworks are needed to address these challenges. 

It’s noteworthy that this is not the first time AI has been used to create deepfakes or manipulated media involving celebrities. In October, Tom Hanks had warned his fans via Instagram of a promotional video for a dental plan that featured him. “Beware!!” Hanks, 67, wrote beneath a photo of his lookalike. “There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. “I have nothing to do with it,” the “Forrest Gump” star added.

While some platforms have taken steps to regulate and restrict such content, the law in this area is still evolving. Cases like Johansson’s are pivotal in shaping the legal landscape for AI-related issues. The outcome of this lawsuit will have far-reaching implications for the entertainment industry, AI developers, and the general public. As technology continues to advance, the protection of individuals’ rights, especially those in the public eye, becomes an increasingly important issue. Scarlett Johansson’s fight against the unauthorized use of her likeness may catalyze discussions on balancing artistic expression with privacy and intellectual property rights in the age of AI.