Incident 277: Voices Created Using Publicly Available App Stolen and Resold as NFT without Attribution

Description: An AI-synthetic audio sold as an NFT on Voiceverse’s platform was acknowledged by the company for having been created by 15.ai, a free web app specializing in text-to-speech and AI-voice generation, and reused without proper attribution.
Alleged: 15.ai developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed 15.ai and 15.ai users.

Suggested citation format

Pednekar, Sonali. (2022-01-14) Incident Number 277. in Lam, K. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Responsible AI Collaborative.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
277
Report Count
1
Incident Date
2022-01-14
Editors
Khoa Lam

Tools

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Incident Reports

In the wake of Troy Baker’s NFT controversy, the company he’s partnered with has admitted to using someone else’s work without credit.

You’re unlikely to have missed the brouhaha over renowned voice actor Troy Baker announcing his partnership with NFT firm Voiceverse, and how badly that went down with fans.

His announcement became instantly unpopular, both for the NFT involvement and his bizarrely aggressive approach to it (something he has since apologised for). However, partner Voiceverse has now been accused of theft.

Voiceverse’s whole deal is that it promises to sell voices as NFTs, allowing you to use them to create your own audio software. It once boasted using an AI generated voice for an animation. Except, it turns out that audio was stolen from someone else.

15.ai is a text-to-speech service, creating AI replicas of character voices, such as GLaDOS from Portal, David Tennant’s Doctor from Doctor Who, and several My Little Pony characters. In fact, Voiceverse’s animation is believed to have used the Rainbow Dash voice from My Little Pony but pitched it up to sound different.

The key difference is that the software’s completely free, with the only stipulations being that 15.ai be credited and linked back to – plus you can’t mix it with any other text-to-speech software.

Upon 15.ai’s creator accusing Voiceverse of using their software without an acknowledgement, the animation was deleted from Voiceverse’s Twitter and it publicly apologised.

Hey @fifteenai we are extremely sorry about this. The voice was indeed taken from your platform, which our marketing team used without giving proper credit. Chubbiverse team has no knowledge of this. We will make sure this never happens again.

— Voiceverse NFT (@VoiceverseNFT) January 14, 2022

Judging by the creator’s response, a simple apology isn’t enough, as they believe the scandal means their work has been misrepresented.

‘To tell the truth, I am extremely depressed. Not only because my work was stolen and used for profit, but also because of this scandal, the entire field of vocal synthesis is now being misrepresented by charlatans who are only in it for the money. It’s my nightmare come true,’ they wrote on Twitter.

To tell the truth, I am extremely depressed. Not only because my work was stolen and used for profit, but also because of this scandal, the entire field of vocal synthesis is now being misrepresented by charlatans who are only in it for the money. It’s my nightmare come true. https://t.co/nqXc3c311Z

— 15 (@fifteenai) January 15, 2022

NFT firm Voiceverse admits it stole work after announcing Troy Baker deal

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