The family of Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher has threatened legal action against a website that faked an AI-generated interview with the driver. The family’s lawyers have issued a statement denouncing the fake interview and called for the website to remove it. The interview purported to be with Schumacher, who has not spoken publicly since his devastating skiing accident in 2013. The family’s statement said they were “extremely upset” by the fake interview and that they would take legal action if necessary to protect Schumacher’s legacy.
AI-Generated Interview of Michael Schumacher Sparks Legal Action from Family
The family of legendary Formula 1 racing champion Michael Schumacher is taking legal action against German weekly magazine Die Aktuelle for publishing a “fake” AI-generated interview with Schumacher. The interview, which never actually happened, was created using Character.AI, a web-based application featuring a neural language model chatbot that can produce human-like text responses.
Despite the revelation at the tail end of the article, the cover of the magazine featured a photograph of a smiling Schumacher with the headline, “Michael Schumacher, the first interview.” Since a severe brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident, Schumacher has remained out of the spotlight, with his family closely guarding his privacy and restricting access to the racing legend.
If the lawsuit goes to trial, jurisdiction will be an important factor because Die Aktuelle is a German outlet and is subject to the country’s privacy laws, including the right of personality. Charles Slamowitz, Managing Attorney at AI & Web3 law firm Slam Legal, suggests that elaborated issues regarding AI copycats “haven’t really been litigated,” yet the family’s argument may ultimately be that the magazine violated Schumacher’s right to publicity by appearing to be “deceptively real, as though it was him.” German Federal Supreme Court case law protects the right of personality, including the right of publicity. The right of personality covers privacy and publicity and aims to ensure human dignity..
The use of AI to create convincing yet fabricated content has come under increased scrutiny after the AI-generated song “Heart On My Sleeve”—falsely attributed to stars Drake and The Weeknd—went viral this week. The song was heard nearly a million times before being pulled from YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify.
A convincing fake AI-generated album from British rock band Oasis also made the rounds online this week. A Character.AI spokesperson notes that the use of the service is subject to its terms of service and acceptable use policy, and that the company petitions for responsible and ethical use of Character-generated content. The representative added, “The actions taken by Die Aktuelle raise questions of journalistic integrity.”
In conclusion, AI-generated content can be deceiving, causing issues of journalistic integrity and violating the right of privacy and publicity of individuals. As technology advances, it is important to use AI responsibly and ethically.