TORONTO – Popular social media platform TikTok illegally used and profited from the voice of a professional Canadian voiceover artist, according to a civil lawsuit filed in the United States.
In her untested statement, Beverly (Bev) Standing seeks unspecified damages and a permanent injunction against the short-lived video site for what she alleges to be unauthorized use of her voice and lack of compensation .
Standing, from Welland, Ont., Alleges she discovered in November that TikTok was using her voice for her computer-generated female voice. Among other things, she says some of TikTok’s videos contained foul and offensive language.
“I get paid to talk. I get paid to represent brands, ”Standing said in an interview Thursday. “Having my text-to-speech voice on TikTok – which I wasn’t hired to do – can be detrimental to my actual career. “
Standing, who said they have hundreds of commercial clients in radio, television and the corporate world, said she wanted to be recognized for her work. But she said she also had a larger purpose with the costume.
“It’s very important for voice talents, clients and creatives to understand that you can’t… just use someone’s voice without permission,” she said. “You can’t do it in the music world, you can’t do it in the art world, and you shouldn’t be able to do it in the voice world. “
Delaware-based ByteDance, which controls TikTok and is named as a defendant, did not respond to a request for comment. He has not yet filed a statement of defense.
The lawsuit filed this month in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, says Standing’s voice and image are well known in the United States and elsewhere. She claims that she suffered “material harm and irreparable harm” as a result of the alleged unauthorized use.
“The plaintiff has invested substantial efforts in preserving, protecting and enhancing its reputation, and has accumulated substantial goodwill,” states its claim. “By hijacking the plaintiff’s voice and likeness, the defendants not only traded on the plaintiff’s goodwill, but also deprived the defendant of the ability to control her reputation.”
TikTok, she alleges, created the “false and misleading representation” that it endorses various products and services when in fact it has not.
“The conduct of the defendants, as described above, was deliberate and willful, has created and will create a likelihood of confusion, error and deception,” she contends. “The defendants have engaged in such acts intentionally or with reckless disregard as to whether the public is confused and deceived.”
The request calls for a hearing by a jury which, if it agreed with it, would decide on an appropriate compensation.
Standing said she received strong support from the voiceover community to take on TikTok.
“I didn’t do any work,” she says. It was absolutely overwhelming.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 13, 2021.