(NewsReady.com) – George Carlin was more than a comedian. He was an astute social commentator who spent his career calling out the issues he saw around the world. His estate is now suing podcasters over an AI-generated comedy special.
On January 25, Carlin’s estate filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles, California, against Chad Kultgen and “Mad TV” alum Will Sasso. The men host the podcast “Dudesy,” and the comedian’s lawsuit accuses them of infringing on the estate’s copyrights by posting a comedy special online.
The podcasters reportedly trained an AI program on 50 years of Carlin’s work, then created the show “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead.” The special was posted on their YouTube channel but appears to have been deleted at the time of this writing. The estate stated the men illegally used the comedian’s likeness and name for their special. The suit is asking a judge to prevent the podcasters from using Carlin’s works and to destroy the episode and audio.
After the podcasters posted the special online, Kelly Carlin posted a statement online, criticizing it. She said her dad, who died in 2008, spent his “lifetime perfecting his craft from his very human life, brain, and imagination.” She went on, calling AI-generated products “clever attempts at trying to recreate a mind that will never exist again.”
My statement regarding the AI generated George Carlin special: 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…1/3
— Kelly Carlin (@kelly_carlin) January 11, 2024
A social media user accused Carlin’s daughter of only caring about money and not art. She responded that she was worried about “his legacy. His reputation. His art.” She also said she believes that it’s important corporations aren’t allowed to “rape [and] pillage art.”
Sasso’s spokeswoman, Danielle Del, told The New York Times that the podcast is not AI. She said the “fictional podcast character” was created by Sasso and Kultgen and that the comedy special was “completely written by Chad Kultgen.” However, the podcast advertises itself on social media as “A.I., Podcast, YouTube show,” and Del refused to answer whether the Carlin-sounding voice was AI-generated.
Josh Schiller, a lawyer for the estate, said he didn’t know how the podcasters created the content but that they’d be deposed and have to provide evidence to prove how it was made.
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