Recently, an artificial intelligence (AI) counterfeit advert promoting an extravagant kitchenware giveaway featuring a likeness of pop star Taylor Swift surfaced on various social media platforms. The supposed campaign for premium kitchenware brand Le Creuset featured images of the brand’s products and an AI-generated voice that bore an uncanny resemblance to Swift. The advert made an alluring declaration about a packaging mistake leading to the giveaway of 3,000 Le Creuset kitchenware sets – an offer seemingly designed to attract Swift’s substantial fanbase.
However, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, confirmed the removal of the deceptive ad from their platform, as reported by Fox News Digital. The assurance indicates that such misleading advertisements are not encouraged and platforms are working to uphold the integrity of their advertisers and users. Swift’s representation was silent about the issue, with no immediate response to the press queries.
Adding to the narrative, Le Creuset issued a statement to Fox News Digital confirming their non-involvement in the Swift advertisement. The statement clarified that neither the cookware brand nor the singer was associated with the campaign. All legitimate Le Creuset giveaways or promotions, they emphasized, originate from the brand’s official and verified social media accounts. This affirmed their commitment to directing consumers to the proper channels and cautioning them about engaging with suspicious promotions.
Marva Bailer, an AI expert, highlighted the responsibility that the ad’s creators bore for the campaign. In her viewpoint, while AI technology may have been used to craft the advert, the decision to exploit it for a campaign without necessary contractual rights was decidedly human. She argued that the intersection of entertainment and business demands respect for intellectual property, ethical business operations, and legal compliance.
She further noted that the democratization and accessibility of AI technology have led to a shift from professional content creators to a wider mix of contributors. However, she pointed out that the intent and effect of content change significantly when it’s purposed for branding or commercial activities without securing appropriate permissions or rights. The use of these tools and the rapid technological evolution brings with it unique challenges and concerns.
Bailer moved on to discuss the swift pace of content creation and consumption or ‘ad bombardment,’ as she termed it. On an estimate, consumers are exposed to 4,000-10,000 advertisements daily, leaving a sparse attention span. Coupling this with the use of AI for understanding consumer preferences, enhancing personalization, and potentially generating false reviews creates a conducive environment for deceptive ads.
Taylor Swift is certainly not the first celebrity whose likeness has been misappropriated in sham AI-generated ads. In the past, Hollywood actor Tom Hanks also warned his followers about fraudulent ads exploiting his fame. Similarly, actress Scarlett Johansson found herself featured in an unauthorized advert designed by a fictitious image-generating application, Lisa AI.
The deceptive ad showcasing Scarlett Johansson aired on the former Twitter and employed snippets of Johansson from the ‘Black Widow’ set. It paired this with AI-generated cues resembling her voice and even featured a disclaimer stating the images were products of Lisa AI and had no connection to the actress. The surreptitious ad had been taken down, but not before raising eyebrows and concerns.
Responding to the lupine ad’s audacity, Johansson’s legal representative communicated their intentions to engage all available legal instruments to address and rectify the situation. Notably, the consequences of using their client’s likeness without permission were not treated lightly, and they planned to take stern action.
Possibly, there could be a stronger legal framework in the future to protect individuals from such misuses. As per Bloomberg Law, a potential ‘No Fakes Act’ was issued as a discussion draft in October by a group of bipartisan senators. If passed, it would establish and reinforce the right of publicity, giving individuals control over their digital replicates.
The proposed legislation aims to safeguard people’s rights to their image and voice, extending protections to digital reproductions as well. This right would be maintained for 70 years postmortem, providing a substantial defense for celebrities and influencers who could be exploited by such deceptive advertising practices.
The penalties outlined in the ‘No Fakes Act’ include a fine of $5,000 per violation and provision for claiming economic damages, subject to proof in court. If enacted, the legislation could play a significant role in deterring the production of such misleading and unauthorized advertisements.