George Carlin’s Estate Sues Podcasters Over A.I. Episode

The lawsuit claims that an hourlong comedy special on YouTube violated Carlin’s copyright.
George Carlin’s Estate Sues Podcasters Over A.I. Episode

The estate of the comedian George Carlin sued the makers of a podcast on Thursday after they claimed to use artificial intelligence to impersonate Carlin for a comedy special.

The lawsuit was filed against Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen, hosts of the podcast “Dudesy,” saying that they infringed on the estate’s copyrights by training an A.I. algorithm on five decades of Carlin’s works for “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead,” which was posted on the podcast’s YouTube channel, where it remains. The lawsuit also says they illegally used Carlin’s name and likeness.

The lawsuit calls for a judge to prevent “Dudesy” — which advertises itself on social media as “A.I., Podcast, YouTube show” — from using Carlin’s copyrighted works in the future and to require the podcast to destroy the episode’s audio and video.

Danielle Del, a spokeswoman for Sasso, said Dudesy is not actually an A.I.

“It’s a fictional podcast character created by two human beings, Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen,” Del wrote in an email. “The YouTube video ‘I’m Glad I’m Dead’ was completely written by Chad Kultgen.”

A spokesperson for Kultgen did not respond to a request for comment. Del declined to comment about whether the Carlin-sounding voice was generated by A.I.

Josh Schiller, a lawyer for the Carlin estate, said the lawsuit that was filed in Federal District Court in California would move forward despite the podcast’s backtracking of the A.I. claims.